DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, in cooperation with the major music companies and representatives of a number of leading organizations, announced at CES on January 5 plans to support the expansion of the current Hi-Res Audio download market into studio quality Hi-Res Audio streaming. During the announcement, representatives from Rhapsody, Pandora, and HDtracks also expressed their enthusiasm for this and to explore opportunities to add new premium music offerings to their respective distribution platforms, which could also include more advanced optional features in the future.
Until now, Hi-Res Audio recordings, which deliver the same quality as the studio master, could only be purchased from a select number of music-download stores. The expansion of Hi-Res Audio into the rapidly growing streaming market underscores the recent rise in subscription music services.
Ty Roberts, Chief Technology Officer of Universal Music Group stated, “Universal Music has been laser focused on Hi-Res Audio, across all of our label groups. But without the involvement of our technology and distribution partners, all of this would be in vain. Today we’re pleased to acknowledge the support of a number of leading digital providers for this new streaming concept.”
Stream the Studio
In a further effort to expand the Hi-Res Audio market, the DEG unveiled a new consumer awareness campaign called Stream the Studio, which is specifically designed to align all of the various marketing messages that are currently being used to promote hi-res compatible devices, technologies and music. The campaign will employ a variety of event marketing and social media to educate and engage Millennial music fans on the benefits of studio quality Hi-Res Audio.
According to Mike Fasulo, President and Chief Operating Officer of Sony Electronics and an Officer of the DEG Board of Directors, “Sony Electronics and Sony Music have been committed to Hi-Res Audio from the beginning. Now working with other leading companies via the DEG, we can use this high level program to bring a unified hi-res message to a wide range of storefronts, which will encourage more consumers to experience this incredible ‘studio quality’ sound for themselves.”
For more information on the Stream the Studio campaign, go to www.streamthestudio.news.
Delivering the Experience
Executives from a number of leading music services expressed their interest in Hi-Res streaming as well.
David Chesky, Chief Executive Officer of HDtracks, a pioneer in Hi-Res music downloads, stated, “As the leader in Hi-Res downloads, HDtracks is excited about the opportunity to bring studio quality music, along with exciting new features, to a whole new group of serious music fans and streaming enthusiasts.”
Chris Martin, Chief Technology Officer of Pandora, the world’s leading Internet radio service, said, “All of us at Pandora truly appreciate the history, the insight and frankly the passion that music companies have for delivering something so much closer to the way music was intended to be heard. And Pandora has the platform to make this big! While not for everyone, Hi-Res music streaming has the potential to engage millions of digital music fans who are seeking a more immersive, studio quality listening experience.”
Mike Davis, Chief Executive Officer of Napster and Rhapsody International, the first streaming on-demand music subscription service, also added “At Napster, we’re passionate about creating emotional connections and delivering premium streaming experiences for every type of music listener. Studio-quality sound has been one of the most requested features from Napster subscribers and other listeners around the world, as ultimately, it helps fans hear music exactly as the artists intended. We’re thrilled to work with other industry leaders to bring Hi-Res Audio to the forefront.”
As evidence of this, Neil Portnow, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Recording Academy, noted how premium music services will be able to better serve musicians and consumers. “The Recording Academy’s Producers and Engineers Wing is extremely excited about the possibilities that this new studio quality music tier affords to both our members and music fans alike. Gone are the days where hi-res sound was reserved for those ‘behind the glass’, as we are seeing a greater appetite and demand for better quality recordings, specifically through streaming. This announcement marks a transformative moment in the way music is consumed.”
Gary Shapiro, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), summarized. “CTA has strongly supported Hi-Res Audio from its inception via a number of activities, including numerous consumer research studies which show that sound quality remains the most important factor in the music listening experience. This new premium streaming tier is one more example of how consumer technology and music companies are using innovation to reinvigorate an entire industry.”
Hi-Res Audio Pavilion
This announcement occurred at a special Hi-Res Audio Update held for press and analysts at CES 2017. During CES, the major music companies also joined in sponsoring a special Hi-Res Audio Pavilion, which is located in the Central Hall at Booth#14546 of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The exhibit is specifically designed to highlight the key benefits of studio-quality music and includes a number of hi-res recordings from dozens of major and independent music labels; along with a variety of hi-res devices from leading electronics companies.
The Pavilion also features a fully equipped replica of a world-class recording facility control room. In addition to ongoing presentations on the benefits of hi-res sound, it will showcase a series of live demonstrations conducted by award-winning producers and engineers, as moderated by yours truly of HRAC.
DEG membership is comprised of: Amazon, BBC AMERICA, bitMAX, CenturyLink, Cinedigm Entertainment, Comcast Cable, comScore, DTS Inc., Deloitte, Deluxe Digital, DirecTV, Dolby Laboratories, DreamWorks Animation, Giant Interactive, Giraffic Technologies, GfK Entertainment, Gibson Brands, Google Play, HBO Home Entertainment, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, IHS, IMAX, Intel, Irdeto, LG Electronics USA, Lionsgate, MAI, Mediamorph, MGM, Microsoft, Midnight Oil, MovieLabs, MQA, Music Watch Inc., My Eye Media, Neustar Media, Nielsen Entertainment, NPD Group, One+K, The Orchard, Outpost Media, Panasonic, Paramount Home Media Distribution, Parrot Analytics, PBS Distribution, Philips Electronics, Playster, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Random Media, Redbox, Rovi, Samsung Electronics, Screen Engine/ASI, ScreenPlay, SellThruCo, Sonopress, Sony DADC, Sony Electronics, Sony Music Entertainment, Starz a Lionsgate Company, Technicolor , TiVo, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Universal Operations Group, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, V2Solutions, Verizon Digital Media Services, Vubiquity, W2O Group, Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and Western Digital.