Audiophiles, Qobuz is here for you.
The France-based high-resolution digital music platform arrived this month in Australia and New Zealand, some two years after a major push into the U.S. market.
Qobuz is now live in 18 countries, including the U.K., Germany, Spain and the territories that make up Scandinavia.
For users in Australia and NZ, prices start at $19.16 per month for the “Studio Premier” subscription. On the “Studio Premier Family” subscription ($44.99 per month or $429.99 for an annual), family members in the same home can share up to six accounts.
The push into the lands Down Under was a long time coming, explains Qobuz Deputy CEO, Georges Fornay. And this latest move should ignite another phase of international expansion.
“COVID didn’t affect the plan to launch in Australia,” Fornay tells TIO via email.
“We’ve had our eyes on both Australia and New Zealand for a long time because we know Aussies and Kiwis love their music, however we waited for the right time to expand once we’d completed a successful fundraising campaign to accelerate international development, and had the renewed confidence of our shareholders.”
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As music fans faced a lengthy lockdown in 2020, Qobuz secured €10 million ($15.6 million) in new capital to “drive its momentum” and “consolidate its future developments,” the launch in these parts being one such example.
For the time being, the Australasian service is being run from overseas. Artist and sound engineer Jessica Porter-Langson has been hired as Music Merchandiser for ANZ, working remotely in U.K.
Her role, explains Fornay, is to “make compelling, local recommendations.”
Australia is already well served by an abundance of digital music services, from Spotify to Apple Music, YouTube Music and others.
New wholesale data published by ARIA reveals Australia’s record business in 2020 expanded by 7.3% to $412 million. Streaming provided the lion’s share of growth, with the market powering $275 million, up 14% from the previous year, a slower rate of growth than seen in previous years.
Qobuz has a point of difference.
Established in 2007, the download and streaming service is at the head of the pack for sound quality purists. Its subscribers can download or stream at CD quality or Hi-Res “studio quality” audio (24-Bit up to 192 kHz).
Currently, the platform boasts a catalogue of more than 70 million tracks, licensed from independents and majors, along with half a million-plus album reviews, artist biogs, music news and, of course, playlists.
Marketing plans beyond launch are yet to be finalised, though Fornay confirms the company will focus on making Australians aware of the offering and “helping them understand how the Qobuz experience differs from other music streaming services.”
Qobuz presented to the industry with a launch event at Studios 301 in Alexandria, featuring engineer Harvey O Sullivan.
“At the end of the day,” Fornay admits, “Qobuz will appeal to people who are looking for a high quality sound experience, and to those who don’t feel mainstream services represent them or their music tastes.”