MQA chapt11



Woah Moma! Hold off on that streamer purchase Baby!

Kidding aside, this may not bode well for Tidal, and I wonder regarding Qobuz. Even though Qobuz does not use MQA, could there be financial issues in the background for these two streaming services that offer improved fidelity over Spotify? Time will tell.

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There’s a saying that goes something about messing around and finding out.

Selling digital music that’s compressed and saying it’s like a studio master?
Embed a spooky DRM component into your business model?
Insist everyone in the chain pays licensing?

Find out.

Edit to change my typo from “hats” to “that’s”.

They should have sold hats. I like hats :slight_smile:


How could it possibly affect Qobuz?

Tidal, I understand, though they likely keep streaming redbook.

Does anyone know how MQA profits from their tech? Is there an ongoing license fee for music encoded for MQA, is the primary income from licensing a chip for use in hardware, or do they have some other irons in the fire?

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The word inevitable comes to mind


It’s been a solution looking for a problem for quite some time. That’s not a good recipe for financial stability.


Re-read what I wrote. I acknowledged Qobuz does not utilize MQA. That said, rumors have been for some time circulating that neither platform is profitable, and investors are becoming impatient. You may recall Jay-Z sold a portion of Tidal to Square, I believe an 80% share. Also, Qobuz has been struggling making inroads in the US market. If you are at AXPONA I suggest checking them out as typicallly they offer an AXPONA discounted annual subscription. (Disclaimer, I do subscribe to and enjoy The buz).

Also, a certain note of sarcasm was implied, which I understand is not well conveyed on internet blogs and their ilk.




For years MQA’s finances have been a blood-bath. They were spending $10m annually without any revenues, in 2021 their revenues were still under $1m, but they made a loss of $6m.

It is probably only because MQA is owned by a private multi-billion fund that it has been given a lifeline each year, but last December it was given until 31 March 2023, or else.

With losses to December 2021 of $50m, “or else” just happened.

I recall the idea behind Square (electronic banking) buying most of Tidal was because apparently in the USA black people use electronic banking much less than white people, Tidal apparently has a large black user-base and Square saw it as a cheap ($300m) way of getting access to a large black customer base for their business. Nice idea, but previously Sprint had bought into Tidal to try and get the user-base to buy mobile contracts.

Qobuz actually went bust about 10 years ago. In France the insolvency laws give huge protection and it was eventually refinanced. Its business plan was never to grow fast, but to grow and try and become profitable and a valuable asset in the music distribution business.

So it’s good riddens from me, in my book MQA was a scam from start to finish. Some subscribers will got to Qobuz, some Amazon, whoever.


Thanks for filling in the details. What was your source for the Sprint/Square motivation to purchase?

Personally, I didn’t buy into MQA, but I know a few how did early on. These are fairly smart individuals, but they though they were getting Master Quality recordings, or Master Sourced recordings.

As far as Tidal goes, it will be interesting to see if the investment community backs the platform to remain competitive with the other streaming platforms. I am assuming, should the MQA plug be pulled, Tidal’s platform may need to be reworked to accomadate hi-rez streaming.

I left Tidal as it was constantly crashing, and following a FW upgrade I couldn’t stream at all for better than a month.

Fortunately I have vinyl I can rely on in a pinch.

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I remember everything except peoples’ names, my Achilles heel.

From what I recall, HD streaming at a premium only ever attracted very small number of subscribers compared to 16/44. That may have changed given the premium is now so small.

Spotify is just vast. Revenues now over €11 billion and it’s actually profitable. Great app.

If you’re interested.

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Just goes to show the old give away free and advertising will pay.

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I’m a Qobuz subscriber too. Other than the occasional blip on their available recordings, I’m quite happy with the service. In my office system I access it through my Lumin T2. At home, via Roon on my Grimm MU1.

I happen to have a Tidal subscription to “fill in the holes”, but I’m sorely tempted to cancel that as it’s only rarely accessed edit: and never accessed for MQA, as my DAC doesn’t support it.

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Grimm MU1, very nice indeed. I considered it, but was never on the Roon bus so stayed put with an Innuos ZENith Mk3 and Phoenix. Nothing against Roon just content where I’m at now.

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No loss there! It was just another copy protect scheme that did nothing of value.


Just imagine how different MQA’s finances would be a major platform, such as QQ Music (over half a billion users) had adopted the tech.

I would add that, to my ears, there are numerous MQA tracks offered by Tidal that I have found to be quite wonderful as compared to other “resolutions” offered.

My experience does not indicate that MQA files are inherently better, all things being equal, but the best track available has been an MQA track from time to time.



I have to agree. I find every once and while an MQA track that I like very much. But it would just make things easier if Tidal just dropped MQA

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Happy cake day!

As for MQA, I never really cared for it. Seemed like an idea whose problem being solved (limited bandwidth) was overcome by technology before it came to market. To further take it off my radar, I subscribed to Tidal for about a year, but the music selection was not to my taste. I have Qobuz now, but hardly use it. I also have Apple Music and may stick with that only because it’s the cheapest. I use streaming to sample music, I’m a dinosaur, I like CD’s, LP’s and the occasional download. Streaming doesn’t fit me … yet.

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