Tidal offers better-than-CD quality as the beginning of high-res audio streaming concept

In its ongoing quest to stand apart from Spotify and Apple, Jay-Z’s streaming service Tidal is offering a new perk: music that sounds like it did in the recording studio.

At least, that’s the goal of MQA, the company behind the audio encoding standard of the same name, with whom Tidal just announced an integration. Sources say Tidal won’t be the last service to announce a high-res audio push this week, so this may just be the beginning of the push into high-quality audio.

A large swath of the music business, including all three major labels (Universal Music Group, Sony Music and the Warner Music Group), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and music platforms such as Pandora, Rhapsody/Napster, HD Tracks, and Digital Entertainment Group also announced their support for studio-quality hi-res audio for music streaming.

Tidal already specializes in high-quality audio, offering CD-quality, lossless music via its higher-priced ($20 per month, double its standard subscription price) HiFi subscription tier. But MQA (which stands for “Master Quality Authenticated”) promises better-than-CD quality that sounds closer to the original master recordings. That ability will allow high-res audio to be delivered to mobile devices without a huge drain on your bandwidth. To start, Tidal is only making the Masters available through its desktop app, but down the line, true high-res audio on your mobile device is a definite possibility.

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