Music streaming is officially going high resolution. The industry’s official logo mark for Hi-Res MUSIC – previously applicable primarily to high-quality digital download services – will soon be available for adoption by music streaming services as well, according to an announcement from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and its member companies Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group, in cooperation with the Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing, the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), and DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.
The Hi-Res MUSIC logo and accompanying definition, originally announced in June 2015 by the RIAA on behalf of its member labels, primarily focused on the various types of digital files and download services which met the definition’s requirements. This program, which has been adopted by nearly a dozen download services offering high-resolution music, is now being expanded to cover streaming services that utilize new technologies that meet the quality standards set out in the original Hi-Res MUSIC definition. These technologies ensure that the listener hears music that preserves, without loss of information, recordings from sources that achieve a minimum of 48kHz/20 bit resolution.
“The expansion of the Hi-Res MUSIC definition to encompass streaming technologies reflects the continued evolution of the marketplace to deliver high resolution music to fans,” says David Hughes, chief technology officer, RIAA. “We are thrilled that the Hi-Res MUSIC logo will allow streaming enthusiasts to easily identify higher quality versions of their favorite recordings via services that use these approved technologies. It’s the logical next step, one embraced by music labels large and small, that will provide an optimal listening experience to this growing consumer segment.”
A number of data packing technologies are being developed that can support the streaming of hi-res music files to consumers in a more efficient manner, including MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) and MPEG 4 Audio SLS. These and other approved technologies will enable licensed services to display the Hi-Res MUSIC logo mark on their landing page or next to an individual album or track. If the resolution of a recording falls below the required minimum standards of the Hi-Res MUSIC definition at any time, the user will be made aware of this change.
“We are looking forward to the Hi-Res MUSIC logo being associated with services that adopt MQA,” says Bob Stuart, chairman of MQA. “MQA is a revolutionary new technology which enables the sound quality of hi-res music with the convenience of efficient streaming, something that wasn’t possible even a few short years ago.”