TIDAL Splits from MQA

Posted on 18th June, 2024

TIDAL Splits from MQA

TIDAL announces that it will bin MQA and 360 Reality streams from the hi-res streaming service.

TIDAL has officially stated that, as of July, it will have replaced all its MQA streams with FLAC versions. This announcement follows TIDAL's introduction of FLAC files, which it said would complement the existing MQA catalogue.

TIDAL Drops MQA

Whilst the hi-res audio subscriber service is having a clearout, it also says that 360 Reality Audio tracks are heading for the SSD in the sky, opting instead to focus on Dolby Atmos as its immersive audio format of choice.

We expected a change, especially as Lenbrook (owner of PSB, NAD, Bluesound, and now MQA) announced it was joining forces with HDtracks to launch a new MQA-powered high-res service. The service's obvious plans are to compete with TIDAL, Qobuz, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.

TIDAL reassures its subscribers that it currently has at least 16-bit/44.1kbps FLAC versions for nearly all MQA tracks today. While it may not have a replacement for every single song when MQA disappears, TIDAL says that it is “working hard to ensure all existing MQA tracks will be replaced with a FLAC version in a timely manner”.

TIDAL Drops MQA

Furthermore, those who have downloaded MQA tracks, playlists, or albums for offline access will need to update their TIDAL app to the latest version on July 24th and redownload the tracks in FLAC.

As for Sony's 360 Reality Audio format, TIDAL explains that the changes are “due to the number of compatible devices, catalogue availability, and artist adoption of the format”. When the changes occur in July, you will see the track or album greyed out and unavailable for streaming. If you prefer Sony's 360 Reality Audio, you can still find it on Amazon Music and Deezer.

Thankfully, this will be the status quo for the time being. As TIDAL says, “We have no further plans to  change our audio format offerings going forward, and we remain committed to providing our subscribers with exceptional audio quality.”

Is this the best move for the service?

Let us know in the Forum

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      Jay Garrett's avatar

      Jay Garrett

      StereoNET UK’s Editor, bass player, and resident rock star! Jay’s passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

      Posted in:Hi-Fi Technology Music
      Tags: tidal  mqa  360 reality audio 

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