I recently talked to Dave Solomon about the hi-resolution streaming service Qobuz, its ever growing title list, and how you can sign up for a free 30-day account! Part 2
Maureen Jenson: Tell us more about your streaming service…how many titles do you have, etc.?
Dave Solomon: In a short two years, we’ve gone from 40 million tracks to over 70 million tracks. Every week we’re adding hundreds more. The good news for music lovers is that most albums are being supplied in Hi-Res 24 bit. You’ll also find artists like Neil Young who have pulled their catalog from Tidal and resupplied Qobuz with the 24/192 versions. So if you want to listen to Neil Young and others who believe in straightforward Hi-Res playback, Qobuz is becoming the artist’s choice, too.
MJ: Can you tell us about the Qobuz pricing structure?
DS: We are the first to drop mp3 all-together, so we only have full and Hi- Res recordings. You can get mp3 anywhere, so we felt why should we offer an inferior format when you can get them in many other places, but this does mean that we do not have a $10 plan.
Our first tier is Studio Premier at $14.99/month or $12.49 billed annually as $149.99. This gives you our entire catalog from 16/44 to 24/192 studio master recordings.
The next tier is our Studio Sublime that receives huge discounts on download purchases in addition to the streaming plan. If you are the type who wants to own your music, the subscription will more than pay for itself with two to three purchases per month. Sublime Premier runs $249/yr ($20.75/mo).
We recently opened a Family plan. The Family plan is $24.99/mo for six family members under the same roof or $22.49/mo billed annually. Under this plan, many young people are now getting exposure to Hi-Res. This is good for Qobuz and the audio industry. The more people exposed to uncompressed full or Hi-Res audio, the more interested and curious they become in their systems sounding better.
We’ve seen this interest first-hand with customers asking us basic questions like, “Where can I find a DAC, speakers, amplifiers or headphones that will enhance my experience?” I’ve polled many retailers and manufacturers over the past year and I’ve found very few who are not doing better than they were in 2019. You often hear of a resurgence of one technology or another, however, streaming is the fastest growing segment in audio and the supply chain is benefitting from this surge that appears to be in its infancy.
MJ: It seems that you and your Qobuz colleagues are working very hard. Is Qobuz a labor of love, or what would you call it?
DS: We have a very small, but diverse team in the U.S., so we all wear multiple hats. Most of the staff comes from the record industry and we all share a deep passion for music.
Dan Mackta, our Managing Director worked for major and independent labels in marketing and promotion going back to the ‘90s. He was working directly with artists and their teams, as well as every department within RCA and Sony on a wide range of projects including Three Days Grace, Cage the Elephant, Dave Matthews Band, Bullet For My Valentine, Buddy Guy and Hot Chelle Rae. Dan tells stories about Weird Al Yankovic’s “White & Nerdy” being one of the more memorable campaigns. We did lots of shows and events together before the pandemic and we both have a blast on the road and neither of us can wait to get back to them.
Prior to Qobuz, our U.S. Head of Music Content, Sujan Hong was Head of Label Relations and Merchandising at eMusic and held digital marketing roles at V2 Records and Beggars Group. She began her career at New York’s historic music venue, Irving Plaza. Sujan is a regular on our Qobuz live streams where she talks about new music and interesting facts about the groups and musicians. For good reason, this is one of the more popular segments on the show.
Rachel Silton is our Marketing and Acquisition Manager and previously held roles as Marketing Director at NYC Winter Jazzfest & Sound Mind Live and Project Manager at Motema Music.
Nitha Viraporn recently graduated from NYU Music Business Masters program. She had been interning for Qobuz since 2019 and officially joined the team last summer. We often say that Nitha is the glue that holds the team together and integral to Qobuz USA.
Having the privilege of delivering the highest quality music is something we all enjoy collectively. We frequently share articles and music with each other, make posts on social well past the bell, so yes, I’d say it’s definitely a labor of love for us all.
MJ: How hard is it to secure your titles?
DS: Dealing with the labels is never an easy task, but we have internal agents in France that have been doing it for years and have a good system. It always seems slow in the beginning because ingesting millions of tracks is not a turnkey process. Having Dan and Sujan here has also opened doors like Blue Coast and Delmark records, expanding the already diverse collection.
Qobuz has gone from 40 million to 70 million tracks since we opened and have by millions the largest Hi-Res music collection streaming today.
MJ: How can our readers find you in North America?
DS: To learn more and sign up for a free trial, go to qobuz.com. We also sponsor most of the audio shows around the country and are always present.
MJ: What are your further plans for 2021?
DS: I can’t say where, but in 2021, we’ll be expanding to other countries. Once shows start back, we will be supporting and attending, as always. Qobuz Live will continue to grow and feature more artists, engineers, audio manufacturers and learning events.
MJ: What else should our readers know about Qobuz? What have I forgotten?
DS: The only thing left really is to hear the difference yourself. Here’s a playlist link that’s sure to make your system sound its best. Anyone can sign up for a free account for 30 days at Qobuz.com.