Qobuz review: A music streaming service on the verge of greatness

Qobuz (pronounced koh-buzz), an audiophile-oriented music-streaming service based in Paris, launched in the U.S. today after being exclusive to Europe for the past 10 years. I’ve been enrolled in the closed beta for the past few days, and I absolutely love it. In addition to using the service, I also spoke with Qobuz USA’s managing director Dan Mackta at CES in January, so I’ll sprinkle some quotes from him throughout the review. There are lots of things about Qobuz that make it different from other streaming services, but the most important differentiator is that you can stream high-resolution FLAC files: Up to 24-bit resolution and sampling rates as high as 192kHz. The service validates such tracks with the familiar Hi-Res Audio logo from the Japan Audio Society. That level of fidelity doesn’t come cheap, though, and I was surprised to find some albums bearing the logo that would only play in 16-bit/44.1kHz resolution. I’ll get into the four service tiers later. Qobuz delivers information galore No matter which level of service you sign up for, you’ll get all the rest of the features that render Qobuz tailor-made for music lovers. Chief among these is the metadata and other documentation attached […]

In the era of streaming music, how is it possible that cassette tapes are making a comeback?

click to enlarge My first car was a silver 1990 Buick Park Avenue handed down from my grandmother, and like all early ’90s cars, it came equipped with a tape deck. It always had a cassette loaded. Most were homemade: I’d buy blank Maxell cassettes, hook up a CD player to my parents’ tape deck and dub my favorite albums — Ziggy Stardust on one side, Hunky Dory on the other. The convenience of digital soon came calling, and I spent my first-ever tax return to swap out that tape deck for a stereo with a CD player. Every paycheck from my first job went almost exclusively to CDs, and I don’t think I’ve listened to a cassette since. In the last few years, though, I started to wonder if I’d been too hasty in throwing them out. I saw touring indie bands selling tapes during their Spokane stops, and fans actually buying them. Friends are proudly posting pictures of their thriftstore cassette finds on Instagram. Artists are collaborating on limited-run cassette releases. But this is not just a local trend. The popularity of vinyl records has been increasing over the last decade: Per Nielsen Music, vinyl sales increased in […]

Hitting the right note in music streaming

There it was again, playing through my laptop. It sounded … well, not as good as I remembered it on the radio in the days when music meant listening to a radio. It sounded soppy. I regretted paying a few dollars to discover that. I also retrospectively regretted quoting its lyrics in a tortured note I sent to the poor girl at the time (who sensibly never replied). Many of those early downloads ended up on an iPod, something which – like that first smartphone – was given to me rather than bought. Well-meaning family members nudged me towards technology they thought I would end up embracing. They were right. I hadn’t wanted one. Hadn’t thought I needed one. Why, I still had my portable CD player, a great leap forward from the Walkman it superseded. (Hmm … I still have that also; so, too, the cassettes it played, including the carefully crafted mix tapes, each of which represented hours of play-and-pausing on a tape deck linked to a record player.) That portable CD player used to travel everywhere with me. A crucial prelude to any trip was selecting the six or so discs to bring, perhaps a couple more […]

Three major music labels make $19 million a day from streaming while artists count their pocket change

Major music labels are making millions per day  from streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify. The artists? Not so much. Image: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images By Matt Binder2019-02-25 19:56:22 UTC Streaming services are now paying out big money to the music industry’s gatekeepers. According to a new report by industry news outlet Music Business Worldwide, the three major music labels made $6.93 billion combined from streaming in 2018. The publication poured through recent investor filings from Universal Music Group’s parent company Vivendi, Sony, and Warner and found that the companies are totaling $19 million in daily streaming revenue.  Broken down even further, the trio of labels generate nearly $800,000 per hour just from music streaming services. As Rolling Stone points out, when looking at the combined revenue for the three labels across all formats and commercial endeavors — $13.14 billion — streaming revenue accounts for more than half of that. That’s more than a 10 percent jump when compared to how much streaming revenue accounted for in 2017. Universal (UMG) saw its streaming revenue jump the most with an increase of $864 million a year, or $2.4 million a day, when compared to the year prior. UMG’s 2018 […]

Connor Stock – Goodbye Bad Vibes

Connor Stock is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and music producer based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. Connor Stock’s influences range from modern electro pop to classic rock, to classical music from the 18th and 19th centuries. Now Connor is back with his single Goodbye Bad Vibes which you can stream here:  https://song.link/s/7zBTggvC7Zc5sLObjTuqyt Socials: https://twitter.com/connormstock https://www.facebook.com/connormstock Artist contact: connormstock@gmail.com