“We want to be the Hermès of music streaming”

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When we talk about the flowing for music, we often think Spotify Where Apple Music, two platforms dominate the market. But we must not forget that France defends itself with Deezer, which goes public and claims more than five million subscribers. And then there’s Qobuz, another tricolor streaming service that’s been around for almost 15 years and thrived in the shadow of the big companies. The platform, which takes its name from an instrument used by some people of Central Asia during shamanic rituals, plays a role. split up high resolution.

Qobuz offers the advertising o the music the original quality can be up to Hi-Res 24 bits/192 kHz. These listening positions are combined with a rich editorial experience created with album reviews, biographies, selections that invite the listener to discover and deepen the work of the artists.

We spent a few weeks exploring the Qobuz app by listening to a variety of music in hi-Res 24-Bit quality. We tested it with the Sony WF-1000xm4 headphones, the Sennheiser Momentum TW3the Beoplay EX from Bang & Olufsen and the associated box Octavio wave.

Qobuz reminds us of the spirit that reigns among record stores, with this page shared among insiders, these tips come as a nugget that we take from the bottom of the file followed by a ” you need to listen to this ASAP! »

With good equipment (we’ll talk about it later), the sound is really good. The editor provides real added value, by opening it up exit different and based on the work or work of an artist. Qobuz is read as it is listened to and it is really different compared to other music streaming services. It is enough to justify a sales position ahead of the competition by saying people around music know and love good sound.

To expand our knowledge of the service and its details, we spoke with Alex Destagnol, product manager for Qobuz.

Futura: Qobuz promises high quality music streaming. What is that?

Alex Destagnol: Qobuz broadcasts music in its original form, without touching the file. This can be up to 24 bits/192 kHz. Some of our competitors edit all the audio files while we appreciate the good choice made by the artist. of the pressure and demotion is not allowed. Today the bandwidthwith the internet, it’s good enough to support high resolution.

Futura: How many Qobuz subscribers are there today? What is their profile?

Alex Destagnol: We have hundreds of thousands of users of Qobuz, located in 25 countries. We opened at the beginning of May in Latin America and Portugal. The Qobuz community brings together musicians who love rock, jazz and classical music. These are the people who are looking for crystalline recordings enhanced by high resolution. We have a high quality with slightly higher prices (regular Qobuz subscription starts at € 12.50 / month, editorial). We are talking about an audience that is ready to pay a price for better information, which will increase their knowledge of an artist, an album or a title. Take the comparison on thethe whole world French beauty, we want to be the Hermes yellow.

Futura: What are the details of the Qobuz document?

Alex Destagnol: Our catalog includes more than 80 million titles. It is very similar to our competitors. But the beginning of Qobuz was done in jazz and classical, two genres that we do a lot. About 30% of us stream performed in jazz and classical music and we offer directions that our competitors do not have.

Futura: Tell us about your editorial work, like the record store

Alex Destagnol: Our editorial content is updated with each news release of an artist. Expert selection is one of Qobuz’s strengths. About ten people in-house and freelance partners (writers, journalists, etc.) write photo reviews, album reviews and features (the In-depth article with a selection of albums). They are always selecting new releases, choosing an album of the week, providing the best nightclub, looking for new talents. We present award-winning albums by different media (Télérama, Classica, Pitchfork…). This manual curation, artisanal if one may say so, is truly a feature of Qobuz.

Futura: Do you use algorithmic languages?

Alex Destagnol: Of course, we also use algorithms to complete our company’s recommendations. But our goal is to ensure that the choices made by our experts are always informed and informed by algorithms. We want to include this diversity. No user will ever see something important that is 100% done by an algorithm. The second idea we are considering is to give the registrant the ability to edit these instructions so as not to feel trapped by profiling.

Futura: Is there a recommended technical setup to get the audio quality that Qobuz can provide?

Alex Destagnol: Make sure that what you use is not limited. In the case of smartphones, one is often found. For example, if you select an album in 24 bits/192 kHz, there is an invisible reduction that can drop to 24 bits 48 kHz, which is the case of everything. iPhone. To get the most out of your phone, the only way is to use a DAC (digital-analog converter, editor’s note) which hides the audio output of the mobile phone to restore the original signal and transmit it losslessly to a wireless headset.

Also, Bluetooth AptX does not allow the best that Qobuz offers to achieve. This is the difficulty of the audiophile universe: you must check the quality of the product provided by the player you are using and, if necessary, use a DAC.

Futura: What about the integration of the Qobuz Connect function, where you can connect three speakers from the original application?

Alex Destagnol: This is important for us and we are working hard. that’s it protocol This allows us to broadcast in high resolution and thus maintain our advantage over competing services that do not offer such audio quality. We work with everyoneecology of voice partners, therefore, it is very important to promote this program. Will we see this year?

There are two points to consider: the readiness and release of the solution and the integration of this solution by our partners who need to update their firmware. Some need more time than others and we have no control over this area.

Futura: What are the next big events for Qobuz?

Alex Destagnol: We will refine the user experience in order to support our customers so that they listen to their music in the best conditions, knowing exactly the quality they are enjoying.

We continue to expand our feedback system while maintaining human curation. In classical music, we will provide a proper guide, either by performance or composition. It is very difficult to organize, but it is important for us.

In addition, we want to expand and expand all the ancillary information, the metadata around an album or a title that has many ways to see it for the listener. In Qobuz, we present a list of the artists involved in each song. For example, it can search for specific work that a musician or sound engineer did on an album. This information is of great value to Qobuz. And that’s the opposite of the path our competitors are taking. Finally, we will continue our internationalization.

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