High resolution audio, which delivers sound quality comparable to the original master studio recordings, offers an opportunity for both record labels and music streamers to increase revenue if - and it's a big if - the many stakeholders can settle on a single hi-res format.
At CES today, all three major labels and streaming music services Pandora, Napster/Rhapsody and HD Tracks endorsed the the Hi-Res Audio streaming format. Today's announcement marks a major expansion of the format into the growing streaming market.
But notably absent from today's announcement were Apple Music (who is reportedly developing its own hi-res format) and streaming music leader Spotify. Tidal, which already offers a hi-res music streaming tier. announced today at CES that it would support a new competing format Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) .
But the major labels, which must provide the hi res files, are focused on the hiRes Audio format. "Universal Music has been laser-focused on Hi-Res Audio, across all of our label groups," says Ty Roberts, CTO of Universal Music Group. "But without the involvement of our technology and distribution partners, all of this would be in vain. Today we’re pleased to acknowledge the support of a number of leading digital providers for this new streaming concept.”
The RIAA also endorsed the Hi Res Audio format today.
In an effort to expand the market, trade organization the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) unveiled a consumer awareness campaign called "Stream The Studio," which is designed to align the various marketing messages that are currently being used to promote hi-res compatible devices, technologies and music.