Major streaming sites, including Tidal and Pandora, announced support for high-res audio at the Consumer Electronic Show on Thursday, suggesting that the technology is likely to take a big step into the streaming market.
High-resolution audio recordings -- a step up from high-fidelity, CD-quality sound -- deliver the same quality as studio masters and have until now been available in just a limited number of music download stores.
On streaming sites, the technology had yet to make its presence known. Tidal previously boasted its "lossless" high-fidelity offering, as does Deezer with its Deezer Elite subscription. Neil Young notably invested in high-fidelity technology with his download service and audio player Pono, which, he told Rolling Stone at the end of 2016, he now hopes to transform into a high-res streaming service.
High-res technology now looks set to expand further into streaming, as the three major music labels -- Universal, Sony and the Warner Music Group -- announced their support for high-res audio this week, joined by representatives from streaming services Pandora, Napster/Rhapsody and HD Tracks who expressed interest in integrating it into their offers.
Tidal, meanwhile, announced support this week for the high-res MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) technology, becoming the first streaming service to do so. Effective immediately, Tidal's premium subscribers will now benefit from master-quality audio in a growing number of recordings, notably the Warner Music Group catalog -- a significant improvement over the service's CD-quality audio.
With these moves, a technology that was previously available to those in the industry and a small number of music fans is headed to the mainstream.
"While not for everyone, Hi-Res music streaming has the potential to engage millions of digital music fans who are seeking a more immersive, studio quality listening experience," stated Chris Martin, chief technology officer of Pandora, in voicing his support for the technology.