Jump to content
  • The Computer Audiophile

    Qobuz Tugs on Superman's Cape, Makes Bold Move With Industry's Best Pricing

    Today Qobuz dropped a bomb that nobody saw coming. The company lowered its lossless / high resolution streaming price to $12.50 /month (annually) or $14.99 /month monthly, and said "so long" to its MP3 service level. This new price is for what it calls the Studio Premier tier.  Qobuz, the world's best high quality streaming service, is now the least expensive. This is the beauty of a competitive market in which many companies are vying for consumers' hard earned money. I love it!

     

    There are some details to this new Qobuz Studio Premier pricing. According to the Qobuz website this is an offer that goes until January 31, 2020 for the first 100,000 customers. But, Some existing customers (HiFi and Studio Monthly subscribers) will automatically be switched to this new pricing. Yearly subscribers can renew for another year to get the pricing and receive either a discount or a refund depending on how much time is left in their subscription. 

     

    I really hope Qobuz keeps its prices at this level forever. 

     


    Perspective

     

    Amazon Music HD launched in September, 2019 at a price of $14.99 ($12.99 for Prime members) per month, while Tidal and Qobuz have held steady for years at $19.99 and $24.99 per month respectively. Amazon's HD launch has been terrific on many levels, and a nonstarter on others. It's wonderful to see the Seattle-based behemoth pushing higher quality music streaming at a scale only the biggest companies can, and for a price that was much lower than any of the competition. The product has been full of issues for people who actually want to play this high quality music on most devices, but the bigger picture here is that over 100 million people are exposed to better sounding music and the issues can be dealt with via software updates. 

     

    Shortly after Amazon's HD launch, many pundits signed death certificates for Qobuz and Tidal. In most cases when Amazon moves into one's territory, the end result isn't good for the little guys. However, it's great to see that Qobuz, a tiny French company that launched in the US on Valentine's Day, 2019, is not only competing with Amazon, it's putting out a better product for less money. David is beating Goliath on every single level (user interface, customer service, playback options, etc...).

     


    Bigger Picture

     

    Perhaps the best part about this Qobuz announcement is the fact that it isn't catering to a market of audiophiles who already consume as much high quality music as any service can deliver. The best part is that now high quality music is priced within spitting distance of the low quality diluted AAC, MP3 and OGG offerings of Spotify and Apple Music. Qobuz isn't under any illusions that it will put the giants out of business, but the company believes this is major step toward the democratization of high quality music. 

     

    There are absolutely zero guarantees in life or that this bold move will turn more of the masses onto higher quality music and possibly better sounding components, but one can be hopeful when a company lays the groundwork for it to happen. I believe this is best place to start when seeking a wider audience for HiFi as a whole. The manufacturers we are all familiar with can release products costing a fraction of the price of their normal products, but this is still more than many people will spend to take a chance on something better. When the price to take a chance on better sound is less than a single pot of tea per month, one doesn't have to wait until the 1st or 15th of the month to pull the trigger. 

     

    What I'm saying is that a healthier HiFi industry starts at the source with better quality music for a little bit more money than the low quality options. 

     

     


    Note: Streaming MP3 is still possible within the Qobuz apps, nice when using an expensive and limited mobile data plan, by setting the quality level within the apps. The only thing MP3 related that's going away is the option to select an MP3 only subscription. 

     

     

    Here's a link to the new Streaming options at Qobuz - https://www.qobuz.com/us-en/music/streaming/offers

     

    And, here are the details about the new pricing - https://try.qobuz.com/faq-studio-premier/

     

    "Studio Premier gives you unlimited access to over 50 million tracks in lossless quality or Hi-Res along with our exclusive, in-depth editorial content for $14.99/ month ($149.99/year). This limited time promotion is available to the first 100,000 new subscribers and existing users until January 31, 2020

     

    As part of our mission to make high-quality sound accessible to all, we have also updated our Sublime+ plan, to the new price of $249.99/year."



    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    1 hour ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    I saw no mention of territory in that article. In fact it quoted the US managing director. 

    True, but it gave the subscription price in £s, which indicates UK.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Anyone knows how the French, German and British catalogs compare or whether they are identical? I want to commit long-term to the best classical catalogue, in respect of which the U.S. version is lacking.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    16 hours ago, Masterstroke said:

    According to todays What Hi-Fi this offer is available to UK users, but no mention of the rest of the EU

    Eh... Your internet is going down after Brexit anyway, y'all.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    19 hours ago, miguelito said:

    I intended to get rid of TIDAL. However, I have found the TIDAL catalog in some areas (eg electronic music) to be deeper.

    Deeper or broader?  Or both?  In your opinion.

     

    Electronic is not a studio album heavy genre.  Collecting November 2019 remixes worth listening to vs all November album releases would be a lopsided effort.  With nearly every bit in both piles being new material.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    1 hour ago, rando said:

    Deeper or broader?  Or both?  In your opinion.

     

    Electronic is not a studio album heavy genre.  Collecting November 2019 remixes worth listening to vs all November album releases would be a lopsided effort.  With nearly every bit in both piles being new material.

     

    I don't mean remixes, but the electronic genre. There are probably more "studio" albums in this genre than any other... :)

     

    Examples:

    https://tidal.com/browse/album/71515060  (released 2017)

    https://tidal.com/browse/album/16849992  (released 2006)

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    1 minute ago, mansr said:

    That's one of the few areas we actually have some leverage. Almost all the transatlantic data cables terminate in the UK.

    Well, maybe you should be making the argument you will cut off Europe if they don't do what you ask... :)

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    7 minutes ago, monteverdi said:

    In had a French account which got switch to US and I lost the ability to play around 40% of my favorites (which are often not main stream). Looking at the unplayable albums I doubt that these are based on rights issues but on user frequency. So I think the US version is a more dumbed down version for at least classical and esoteric taste.

    I might get an European subscription when mine expires even if it would be more expensive or forget about Qobuz!

     

     

    Yes, Qobuz implemented a Snob Filter to justify higher prices in some countries. It's a proven marketing strategy.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    On 11/13/2019 at 5:20 AM, miguelito said:

    I don't mean remixes, but the electronic genre. There are probably more "studio" albums in this genre than any other... :)

     

    Examples:

    https://tidal.com/browse/album/71515060  (released 2017)

    https://tidal.com/browse/album/16849992  (released 2006)

    Rereading I realize maybe I posted too quickly... The albums listed above are NOT available in Qobuz US. There are quite a few misses, especially in the electronic genre, in Qobuz US. Many are available - at least for download - from Qobuz UK.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    22 hours ago, monteverdi said:

    In had a French account which got switch to US and I lost the ability to play around 40% of my favorites (which are often not main stream). Looking at the unplayable albums I doubt that these are based on rights issues but on user frequency. So I think the US version is a more dumbed down version for at least classical and esoteric taste.

    I might get an European subscription when mine expires even if it would be more expensive or forget about Qobuz!

     

    This is absolutely not true @monteverdi. There are massive differences in licensing between the US and Europe. As I've often said the better benchmark is whether one of the mainstream services in the US has something, then we should too. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    1 minute ago, dmackta said:

    This is absolutely not true @monteverdi. There are massive differences in licensing between the US and Europe. As I've often said the better benchmark is whether one of the mainstream services in the US has something, then we should too. 

    I don't understand that statement. You mean you should have everything Spotify has or how you define mainstream service?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    5 minutes ago, dmackta said:

    There are massive differences in licensing between the US and Europe.

    And that is why piracy continues to flourish.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    7 hours ago, miguelito said:

    Rereading I realize maybe I posted too quickly... The albums listed above are NOT available in Qobuz US. There are quite a few misses, especially in the electronic genre, in Qobuz US. Many are available - at least for download - from Qobuz UK.

    @miguelitoThe two Tidal examples you posted are not available on Qobuz UK. There are still a few independent aggregators and labels that haven't licensed us yet. Generally we are trying to get everyone on board. I will look into those labels specifically and try to find out who distributes them. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    have made the change, was only CD quality before. Worthwhile if you have an iPhone and use headphones with 24 bit capable external DAC like Audeze cipher although

    getting occasional hiccups at 192k data rates on LTE connections. Would be nice if the Qobuz app were enhanced to allow the option to buffer current track before play

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    16 hours ago, mansr said:

    And that is why piracy continues to flourish.

     

    Absolutely. If something is missing from streaming services those who wish to listen to it won't sit there with their arms crossed, and in the process might become accustomed to obtaining their music by other means for free. Labels need to put an end to this BS of regionally restricted catalogues. Everything needs to be available to any listener regardless of where they are located.

     

    16 hours ago, dmackta said:

    Yes we should have everything they have. We are still maybe 10 million tracks behind but we are adding 10,000 albums a day. 

     

    I hope this includes classical as presently there is an tremendous amount of recordings not available on Qobuz U.S..

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    17 hours ago, dmackta said:

    Yes we should have everything they have. We are still maybe 10 million tracks behind but we are adding 10,000 albums a day. 

     

    I've been moving playlists over (via Soundiiz) from other services (mostly Tidal) and there is very very little that Qobuz does not have. Most of the errors I've noticed are pretty obscure tracks that may have been part of compilations on Tidal. 

    Also Very impressed with the Qobuz hi-res selection. I wish that Soundiiz would seek out the Hi-res matches during the playlist transfer but it seems to be hit or miss.

     

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I'm holding my breath till after Jan 1 before I pull the plug on a years sub between Amazon and Qobuz.  If Qobuz holds the price line I'll go there, they have the Win app with the ablitiy to direct the data stream without resampling. If they raise the price I'll go to Amazon. Yep, I'm a cheapskate.  LOL

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Thanks for this article and thread!  This has really brought Qobuz to my attention!

     

    Given that it's been 2 months since the Amazon Music HD launch, and the hardware device compatibility issues have not been improved/addressed, trying Qobuz is very tempting.

     

    For the streaming device platforms below, I understand the following.  Please comment if I am wrong or if there is other relevant info.

     

    • Heos - no native compatibility within Heos or with Qobuz Connect using the native Qobuz app.  I wonder why?

     

    • Chromecast Audio - the native Qobuz app can be used to cast up to 24/96 FLAC to a CCA.
      • For 24/192 FLAC from Qobuz, does the CCA of Qobuz server downsample to 24/96 FLAC?

     

    • Sonos - not sure on the details.  I believe you can use a Qobuz app within the Sonos app, but not sure if you can use the native Qobuz app with the Connect feature.  
      • Does anyone know if the native Qobuz app works with Sonos?
      • Of course, the max resolution on Sonos is 16/44.1.

     

     

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    9 minutes ago, adam2434 said:

    Heos - no native compatibility within Heos or with Qobuz Connect using the native Qobuz app.  I wonder why?

    The Heos team is to blame on this one. I won’t say more. It would be embarrassing for them. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now



×
×
  • Create New...