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Qobuz is a French commercial music streaming and downloading service. It was founded in 2007 by Yves Riesel, expanded to a limited range of overseas markets, including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Spain, and launched in the US in May 2019. It offers a tiered subscription service and, like its competitor Tidal, provides free-of-charge streaming only for a trial period.
In 2013, Qobuz received the Hi-Res Audio certification, awarded by the Japan Audio Society (JAS). This certification guarantees that the audio streams delivered by Qobuz meet the criteria and standards defined by the JAS.
In April 2020, during the early months of the COVID-19 crisis, Qobuz supported artists by giving 100% of the revenue from each new subscriber’s first paid month back to the rights holders.
On June 3, 2020, Qobuz announced the signing of a financial and industrial partnership with Quebecor, a Canadian leader in telecommunications, entertainment, news media and culture. QUB Music, a streaming platform launched in Quebec by the Quebecor company, was born out of this alliance.
On June 15, 2020, Qobuz ended its MP3 quality streaming offer, focusing instead exclusively on lossless streaming. All Qobuz subscriptions give access to high resolution quality (Hi-Res) and CD quality. However, MP3 listening is available as an option for conserving storage space or using less bandwidth.
In June 2020, the subscription offerings were increased with a family plan, Qobuz Family, which allows the customer to share six accounts among members of the same household.
As of April 2021[update] Qobuz currently offers four plans: Studio Premier (Base subscription, monthly as well as annual with discount), and Studio Sublime (An annual-only subscription that adds a discount on downloads,) as well as Family variants, with up to six users, of each plan.
Qobuz is available in 18 countries.
Qobuz offers all music in MP3 at 320 kbps, CD-DA quality lossless (16-bit/44.1 kHz) as well as hi-res quality lossless (up to 24-bit/192 kHz) for certain music; downloads are offered in either WAV, AIFF, ALAC, and FLAC for hi-res quality, with lossless WMA also available for CD quality music only, and MP3, standard WMA, and AAC in 128 kbps or 320 kbps for lossy quality.
The streaming service can be accessed via a web player, or by using a desktop player for Windows and macOS; the Windows version may also work on Linux with recent versions of Wine. Qobuz also provides Android and iOS applications. Qobuz is also provided natively on a range of High fidelity equipment such as Linn and Naim, as well as Roon, and Sonos.
Open in France since 2007, Qobuz extended its reach in December 2013 to eight European countries: United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands then, in 2017, in Spain and Italy.
In 2018, Qobuz was active in eleven countries. In 2019, Qobuz opened its subsidiary in the United States.
On April 15, 2021, Qobuz made its streaming and downloading offers available in six new countries: Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Australia and New Zealand.
The Qobuz application can be downloaded for free on the AppStore, Google Play. Accessible on mobile and tablet, it is also available on computer for Mac, PC and web player. The application allows listening to 30-second clips for free, however, a paid subscription is required to listen to full tracks. Users of iOS and Android smartphones can access the platform after signing up for a Qobuz Studio subscription. The Qobuz app is compatible with Google Cast/Chromecast built-in.
Qobuz streams lossless FLAC files, up to 24-bit/192 kHz, provided by labels, distributors/aggregators, and rights holders.
Since January 22, 2019, Qobuz has been available for listening on Roon. An update in version 1.6 offers the best music experience to browse your music files and streaming services.
Since January 15, 2020, UK HiFi specialist Naim Audio has been integrating Qobuz into its hardware for owners of the Uniti Atom, Star & Nova systems as well as the ND5 XS2, NDX 2 and ND 555 network players.
In June 2020, a new update was made for the Mu-so 2nd Generation and Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation wireless systems.
On March 24, 2021, Qobuz became the first music platform to offer high-resolution 24-bit audio streaming on Sonos, the world leader in connected wireless audio systems.
In August 2019, the French platform raised €12 million from Nabuboto and the Quebecor Group. Qobuz recorded a +45.3% growth in its last fiscal year 2019-2020. In September 2020, the two historical shareholders, Nabuboto and Quebecor, renewed their confidence in the company by raising a further 10 million euros.
In 2021, Qobuz offers more than 70 million tracks in CD and "Hi-Res" quality (24 bits up to 192 kHz). All the tracks purchased are offered without any DRM restrictions.
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