“There aren’t any big holes in our catalog right now,” Qobuz’s “Chief Hi-Res Music Evangelist” David Solomon explained by phone. “We’re ingesting as fast as we can. The situation with Qobuz and Tidal is a bit like Netflix vs Amazon Prime, where if one doesn’t have it, the other does. Most often, both do, but our amount of hi-rez classical dwarfs others.”
After looking up some recent titles from Warner and Decca that are available on Tidal in 24/96 MQA, I confirmed that the same titles can be found on Qobuz in 24/96 FLAC. US subscribers can stream Qobuz hi-rez from the Qobuz app and Amarra, Audirvana, and Roon music playback software. However, since Qobuz’s app works on iOS as well as Android and Windows-based platforms, while Tidal has yet to issue its own MQA hi-rez streaming app for iOS devices, the choice of service will likely be based on your sonic preferences and which devices and software/apps you prefer for playback.
Another basis for choice is price. Qobuz offers multiple subscription tiers:
“Sublime +”: $299.99/year for unlimited Hi-Rez streaming plus discounted downloads.
“Studio”: $24.99/month for unlimited Hi-Rez (24-bit /up to 192kHz) streaming
($249.99 if purchased on an annual basis).
“Hi-Fi”: $19.99/month for unlimited 16-bit CD quality streaming ($199.99 annually).
“Premium”: $9.99/month 320kbps MP3 quality streaming plan ($99.99 annually).
Note the download option. As Solomon puts it, “All streaming titles are for sale. If it will play, you can pay.”
“Sublime +” level subscribers pay what Solomon terms “just about MP3 prices” for hi-rez downloads. Regular download prices for one recent full-price classical offering from Erato, Brahms Cello Sonatas, Hungarian Dances by Jean-Guiden Queyras and Alexandre Tharaud, are $12.99 for CD quality and $14.99 for 24/96 FLAC, ALAC, WMA, AIFF, and WAV. “Sublime +” subscribers, however, can get the same 24/96 files for $9.99.
I was told that Sublime + subscribers should be able to purchase all hi-rez downloads in all genres for the equivalent price of Apple Music’s 256kbps downloads. Sublime+ subscribers who intend to download at least one hi-rez album per month will end up saving the $50 price difference between a “Studio” and “Sublime +” subscription in less than a year.