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when we talkmusic, we often think of Where Music, two platforms that dominate the market. But let’s not forget that France bravely defended itself with Deezer, which is about to go public and claims to have more than 5 million subscribers. There’s also Qobuz, another three-color streaming service that’s been around for nearly 15 years, thriving in the shadow of industry giants.The platform takes its name from a very special stringed instrument used by some peoples in Central Asia in shamanic rituals, which plays Absolutely high end.
Provided by Qobuzof Source quality up to Hi-Res 24 bits/192 kHz. A rich editorial of album reviews, biographies, anthologies is added to these listening conditions, inviting listeners to discover and deepen the artist’s work.
We spent weeks discovering the Qobuz catalog by listening to a variety of music genres in high-resolution 24-bit quality. We tested it with Sony WF-1000xm4 headphones,Beoplay EX by Bang & Olufsen and connected boxes .
Qobuz reminds us of the spirit that prevails in record stores, there is this side of sharing among insiders, the suggestions are like nuggets we take out from under the counter, accompanied by ” You need to listen to this ASAP! »
With good equipment (which we’ll get to later), the audio quality is there.Editorial content brings real added value through opennessVariety and originality in the work or the work of the artist. Qobuz is read almost as much as it is listened to, which really makes a difference compared to other music streaming services.Sufficient to justify price positioning higher than competitors by addressing Very knowledgeable and loves a good voice.
To deepen our understanding of the service and its uniqueness, we interviewed Alex Destagnol, Product Director at Qobuz.
Futura: Qobuz promises high-fidelity music streaming. What exactly is it?
Alex Destagnol: Qobuz plays music at source quality without touching the file. This can be up to 24-bit/192 kHz. Some of our competitors have remastered all audio files, and we respect the quality choices made by the artist.Thisand degradation is no longer technically plausible.today including cellular networks, are sufficient to support high resolutions.
Futura: How many Qobuz subscribers are there today? What is their profile?
Alex Destagnol: We have hundreds of thousands of Qobuz users in 25 countries. We opened in Latin America and Portugal in early May. The Qobuz audience gathers audiophiles who love rock, jazz and classical music. These people are looking for precise, crystalline records enhanced by high resolution. We have a high-end position with a slightly higher price (standard Qobuz subscription starts at €12.50 per month, editor’s note). We target audiences who are willing to pay for additional premium content that deepens their knowledge of an artist, album or title.CompareFrench luxury, we want to be Music streaming.
Futura: What are the characteristics of the Qobuz catalog?
Alex Destagnol: Our catalog has over 80 million titles. It is on par with our competitors. But Qobuz started with jazz and classical, two genres we’re particularly active in. about 30% of us flow Based on jazz and classical music, we offer references that our competitors don’t have.
Futura: Tell us about your editing work, similar to what you do in a record store
Alex Destagnol: Our editorial content is redesigned with every news item from the artist. Picking by experts is one of Qobuz’s strengths. About ten insiders and independent collaborators (writers, journalists, etc.) write artist biographies, album reviews and overviews (with in-depth articles on select albums). They’re constantly picking new releases, picking albums of the week, offering the ideal nightclub, and discovering new talent. We highlight award-winning albums in different media (Télérama, Classica, Pitchfork, etc.). This manual curation, if you can call it that, is actually a feature of Qobuz.
Futura: Do you use recommendation algorithms?
Alex Destagnol: In fact, we also use algorithms to accomplish our team’s recommendations. But our goal is to ensure that the choices our experts make are always reported and highlighted by the algorithm. We want to inject this diversity. No user will see 100% of the highlights made by the algorithm. The second point of our concern is to give subscribers the possibility to correct these suggestions so as not to get stuck in the analysis.
Futura: Is there a recommended hardware configuration to take full advantage of the audio quality Qobuz can provide?
Alex Destagnol: It is necessary to ensure that the devices a person uses are not restricted.in the case of, there is often one.For example, if you choose a 24-bit/192 kHz album, there will be invisible downgrades that can go down to 24-bit 48 kHz, such as all . The only way to benefit from the highest quality of your smartphone is to use (Digital-to-analog converter, editor’s note) This will mask the phone’s audio output to restore the original signal and broadcast it to wired headphones without loss.
Additionally, Bluetooth AptX cannot achieve the highest quality Qobuz offers. That’s the complexity of the audiophile world: you have to check the output quality provided by the player you’re using, and use a DAC if necessary.
Futura: What about the integration of the Qobuz Connect feature, which allows you to connect to third-party audio devices from the native app?
Alex Destagnol: This is an important priority for us and we are actively working on it.this is the only oneThis will allow us to broadcast in high resolution, maintaining our advantage over competing services that do not offer this type of audio quality.We work closely with everyone Audio partners, so pushing this project has real relevance. Will we see it happen this year?
There are two things to consider: getting the solution ready and launching, and the partner who must update the firmware to integrate this solution. Some people need more time than others, and we have no control over that part.
Futura: What are the major future developments for Qobuz?
Alex Destagnol: We will improve the user experience to support our subscribers listening to music in the best possible conditions, knowing exactly the quality they are enjoying.
We continue to scale our recommender system while retaining human curation. In classical music, we will provide more appropriate navigation by work or composer. Quite complicated to set up, but an important focus for us.
In addition, we also wanted to enrich and enhance any secondary information, metadata around the album or title, which are all pathways for listeners to discover. On Qobuz, we indicate the list of musicians who intervened on each track. For example, it could explore the specific jobs of a musician or sound engineer who made an album. This knowledge has enormous cultural and differentiating value for Qobuz. This is the opposite of the trajectory our competitors are taking. Finally, we will also continue our internationalization.