Up-and-coming Spotify rival Qobuz has decided to bin MP3-quality streams in the UK, instead opting to go all-in for Hi-Res streaming.
Hi-Res tracks are identified by a logo in the app itself, so you can easily see tracks that are encoded in the higher quality.
The writing was on the wall back in November when the more expensive Studio Premier tier was reduced in price in the US and the other tiers also discontinued there.
Naturally, there is a cost for those on the older Premium subscription tier who were paying $9.99/£9.99 a month - they'll now end up paying more for access to the service.
You stream from Qobuz in either lossless (equivalent to CD-quality) or Hi-Res (from 24-bit/44.1 kHz up to 192 kHz studio quality) for $14.99/£14.99 a month ($150/£150 with a yearly plan).
Qobuz’s hand was probably forced by the launch of Amazon Music Unlimited HD, which has similar pricing for non-Prime customers and is a little bit cheaper if you do have Amazon Prime.
Qobuz is also still offering its Sublime+ plan, now priced at $249/£249.99 a year, which includes top-quality streaming plus a discount on Hi-Res downloads.
“MP3 is really bad for music, artists and listeners,” says Dan Mackta from Qobuz. “So [we’re] saying ‘no to MP3’ and now offers only real studio quality in one accessible plan.”
Qobuz was the first streaming service to offer Hi-Res streaming in 24-bit FLAC and has been a natural rival for Hi-Res rival Tidal and both services provide an extra level of artist and album information for those who want it.