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.

Music

Amazon Music Unlimited is fastest growing music streaming service, report says

Amazon Music Unlimited is the fastest growing music streaming service, ahead of both Spotify and Apple Music. It has been booming recently, with a massive 70% growth in the last year which brings its total subscribers up to 32 million.
News

Amazon has plans for an Echo for music lovers — and a voice-controlled robot?

A Bloomberg report suggests that Amazon might have plans to release a new Amazon Echo unit with improved audio quality, perhaps as a tie-in with a new and improved Amazon Music service.
Music

The best new music this week: Blood Orange, Floating Points, and more

Looking for the best new music? Each week, we find the most compelling new releases just for you. This week: New albums from Blood Orange, Floating Points, and Tycho with Saint Sinner.
Music

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Home Theater

Walmart’s got the Google Home Max for $249 just in time for Prime Day

Not to be outdone by Amazon's Prime Day shopping bonanza, Walmart has a few deals of its own -- one of the best is the Google Home Max smart speaker, at $150 off its regular price.
Deals

Best Prime Day speaker deals: Bose, Denon, and Polk receive hefty price cuts

Looking to spruce up your audio setup this Prime Day? You've come to the right place — we've found Bose, Denon, and Polk speakers, among several Bluetooth offerings, for a fraction of their retail price.
Deals

Snag the Bose SoundSport Free wireless earbuds for 30% off on Prime Day

Prime Day is upon us and Amazon is offering the Bose SoundSport Free wireless earbuds for only $139 — a rollicking 30% off its original price of $200. These earbuds get high marks for their long battery life, water resistance, and sound.
Deals

The Sennheiser HD 599 Headphones get a 50% discount for Prime Day

The Sennheiser HD 599 Headphones usually sells for $200 but you can snag a pair for only $100. This Amazon-exclusive offer is only valid for a limited time of 24 hours so you better get yours before stocks run out. 
Movies & TV

Terminator: Dark Fate: Everything we know about the new movie so far

The most recent Terminator films didn't do so well, but now James Cameron has returned to reinvigorate the franchise. Here's everything we know about the cast, crew, and story of the upcoming Terminator: Dark Fate movie.
Deals

Best Prime Day soundbar deals: Samsung, Sonos, and more

Searching for a cracking deal on a soundbar this Prime Day 2019? You're in luck — we've rounded up all of the best soundbars on sale, so you don't have to scroll through Amazon's never-ending catalog in search of a diamond in the ruff.
Deals

This fantastic deal on a 65-inch TCL 4K TV won’t be around for long

It's not only Amazon that's getting in on the Prime Day 2019 action; Walmart has several must-have deals live right now, including this fantastic 65-inch TCL 5-Series 4K TV, which is now on sale for half off.
Home Theater

Sonos One and Sonos Beam get huge Amazon Prime Day discounts up to $140

Sonos' two smart speaker products, the Sonos One and Sonos Beam, have been discounted for Prime Day, but Amazon has also thrown in some $50 gift cards to make these deals even better.
Deals

Searching for a projector? Don’t miss these awesome Prime Day 2019 deals

Amazon has discounted several top-rated projectors from the likes of Epson, Optoma, and Sony to celebrate Prime Day 2019, including the must-have 4K Optoma UHD51A.
Movies & TV

Sit down and watch some of the best stand-up comedy on Netflix

Feeling a little funny? There are hundreds of hilarious comedy specials out there, and you can't be expected to comb through them all. Lucky for you, we've compiled a list of the best stand-up specials on Netflix.