Universal Music Group is the latest company to offer music in hi-res MQA format

mqa universal music group deal hi res audio man and woman listening to
Orla/123RF
Devices supporting high-resolution audio continue to grow in number, with receivers, wireless speakers, portable media players, and even some phones supporting the format. What hi-res audio truly needs to take off in terms of popularity is a widely recognized and supported format — similar to how the MP3 format caused digital music to skyrocket in terms of popularity. MQA wants to be that format, and is moving closer thanks to its new multi-year deal with Universal Music Group (UMG).

On February 16, the two companies announced the multi-year deal which will see UMG making its massive catalog available in the MQA Hi-Res format. This is following similar deals with companies like Warner Music Group, meaning the library of songs and albums available in the format is already sizable and continuing to grow.

“We’re very pleased to be working with Universal Music to achieve our goal of moving studio-quality sound into the mainstream,” MQA CEO Mike Jbara said in a statement. “Universal’s timeless catalog and impressive artist roster will fuel music streaming services worldwide and enable the premium listening experience for all music fans.”

MQA, which stands for Master Quality Authenticated, offers a unique approach to high-resolution audio. The format is actually distributed in familiar file formats like WAV, FLAC, or AIFF, while allowing for smaller file sizes than traditional hi-res audio in those formats. On devices that don’t support high-resolution audio, the files still play fine, albeit in standard resolution, while high-resolution audio can be played from the same file on devices that support it.

“With MQA, we are working with a partner whose technology is among the best solutions for streaming Hi-Res Audio, and one that doesn’t ask music fans to compromise on sound quality for convenience,” UMG vice president of digital strategy Michael Nash said. “We’re looking forward to working with Mike and his team at MQA to make our industry-leading roster of artists and recordings available to music fans in the highest quality possible.”

This isn’t the only recent major step forward for MQA. Last month, the company partnered with Tidal, making it the first major music subscription service to allow for streaming master-quality audio. The deal with UMG likely means that even more hi-res audio should be available via the streaming service soon.

Wearables

Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 Music adds Spotify support for tunes while you tone

After releasing Spotify for the Fenix 5 Plus series and Forerunner 645 Music last year, Garmin made good on its promise to bring the music streaming service to its Vivoactive 3 Music fitness watch.
Computing

Don't use streaming apps? Try the best free media players for your local music

Rather than using music-streaming apps, you may want something for playing your local music. Good news! There are some good alternatives. These are the best media players you can download for free on Windows.
Home Theater

Apple Music encourages subscribers to give friends a free 1-month pass

It's no secret that Apple has its sights set squarely on Spotify's enviable subscriber count, but how will Apple Music grow? By using existing customers to recruit new members by letting them send friends a one-month free pass.
Music

The best new music this week: Robert Ellis, Golden Daze, and more

Looking for the best new music? Each week, we find the most compelling new releases just for you. This week: Brand-new music from Robert Ellis, Broken Social Scene, and Golden Daze.
Home Theater

Charter’s Spectrum TV Essentials offers 60 live TV channels for $15 a month

Charter Communication's Spectrum TV Essentials is a package of 60 live TV channels for $15 per month designed to keep cord-cutters happy. But with no sports or major broadcasters, is it enough?
Home Theater

What is Netflix Roulette, and how exactly does it work?

For years, educated viewers have been using Netflix Roulette to broaden their horizons. The web app can help you find movies and shows you'd never think to watch! What exactly is it, though, and how do you use it? We explain it all.
Product Review

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are a brilliant combination of value and comfort

With six hours of battery life, an extremely comfortable fit, sweatproofing, and a very palatable price tag, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are putting all other true wireless earbuds on notice.
Movies & TV

ESPN Plus is a great sports companion. Here's everything you need to know

ESPN's streaming service, ESPN Plus, arrived in 2018. Despite appearances, ESPN Plus isn't a replacement for your ESPN cable channels, and it differs from other streaming apps in a few key ways. We answer all your questions in this guide.
Home Theater

Viacom deal brings more entertainment options to sports-first streamer FuboTV

If you’re looking for a live TV streaming service, with a big emphasis on sports, FuboTV could be exactly what you’re looking for. We’ve got everything you need to know about it right here.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Home Theater

Here's a handy guide to mirroring your favorite devices to your TV screen

A vast arsenal of devices exists to allow sending anything on your mobile device (or PC) to your TV. Our in-depth guide shows you how to mirror content from your smartphone or tablet to the big screen.
Home Theater

Still wondering why you should buy a smart TV? Here's what you should consider

If you've been living under a rock, you might wonder: What is a smart TV, anyway? Luckily, we've put together a quick-hit guide to teach you everything you need to know about televisions with big brains.
Computing

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Movies & TV

LeBron James’ Space Jam 2 gets an official release date

LeBron James has brought on Black Panther director Ryan Coogler to produce his upcoming Space Jam sequel, with Terence Nance attached to direct the film. Space Jam 2 is expected to hit theaters in July 2021.