French company Qobuz have brought their “premium gasoline of music services” to the US to take on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and others.
Qobuz have launched in the United States joining the plethora of music streaming services available in the country. The French service’s US managing director, Dan Mackta hopes they can set themselves apart offering a hybrid “streaming service and download store” with high resolution quality options.
Qobuz has been around as long as Spotify, being available in Europe since 2007. They haven’t seen the international success that Spotify have but in their 10+ years they have gained over 100,000 active customers, mostly in France, Germany and the UK.
Their launch into the massive digital music market of the US isn’t to take on the already busy streaming circuit. Mackta says that they are “really not trying to compete with the mainstream streaming services” and are instead aiming to appeal to the “top end of the market”.
Although music streaming is quickly becoming the biggest form of listening around the world and digital sales are declinining, Qobuz maintain a steady stream of downloads. Digital downloads account for roughly 30% of their revenues. Mackta claims: “In the audiophile world, the demand for downloads is still strong, and as long as our hardware partners make this gear, and our retail partners sell it, we will continue to provide the content.”
Their focus on downloads and streaming simultaneously will help to set them apart. They are also part of a limited breed offering high resolution streaming and downloads. Mackta adds: “Audiophiles have been crying out for this kind of service in the US for several years. There are other platforms that do some of what we do, but we are trying to be the best Qobuz we can be and find our people, who may not even be doing any music streaming yet.”
Qobuz have been working for over a year to arrange their recording and publishing partners for their United States launch. Their pricing plans range from $9.99 to $24.99 a month. It’s ‘Sublime+’ tier costs $299 a year for full high resolution streaming which includes 40-60% discounts on Qobuz’s Hi-Res download store.
Mackta is sure they’ll make an impact in the US, saying: “The US has the most mature market outside the Nordics. But there is still an enormous amount of growth happening for at least another few years. And increasingly stratified consumer choices in hardware and content providers. There is an explosion in mobile hi-fi listening hardware including headphones. There is no service that caters to the top end of the market like we do.”
Qobuz owner and chairman, Denis Thébaud says: “I am very proud of our United States launch. Our teams have been working brilliantly for over a year with our recording and publishing partners to get to this point. I am convinced that what we have to offer, on both the streaming and download markets, will be a success amongst American music lovers.”