Today, TIDAL announced millions of MQA tracks from Warner Music Group have been added to the TIDAL Masters catalog from artists such The Notorious B.I.G., Missy Elliott, LCD Soundsystem, Madonna and more. TIDAL with MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), provide guaranteed delivery of the original sound recording with TIDAL Masters. Since 2019, MQA users have doubled on TIDAL, and TIDAL HiFi users now stream 40% more tracks in Master Quality than last year.
MQA, led by Bob Stuart, who this year became the first audio engineer to receive the Prince Philip Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering, has pioneered an entirely new way of coding digital audio based on key insights into how humans hear. Key to the technology is MQA’s built-in authentication to confirm that the listener is getting the exact sound created in the studio. Additionally, MQA addresses the issue that when analogue sound is turned into digital, the process introduces time-smearing artefacts that blur sounds unnaturally. MQA solves these problems, and then the MQA decoder in the TIDAL app ensures the conversion back to analogue preserves the music’s pristine clarity.
“TIDAL Masters offer the best sound available. Not only can members hear music exactly as their favorite artists recorded it, but with recent platform enhancements, the experience is as seamless as ever.” Lior Tibon, TIDAL COO
Bob Stuart, MQA Founder, explained, “By paying great attention to the nature of sound and the way we hear, MQA opens a clear window and delivers all the detail and nuance of the original song. The music industry’s catalog contains millions of significant performances from the early days of CD where, sometimes, the recording was created in 44.1kHz 16bit and where no alternative existed. We are delighted that Warner Music Group is bringing this content to TIDAL.”
To take advantage of hi-res audio tracks, you’ll need a TIDAL HiFi membership ($19.99/month) and a DAC capable of MQA playback (typically 96 kHz / 24 bit) or an audiophile-grade digital music streamer that includes a built-in DAC — ideally one that is also compatible with TIDAL Connect. The TIDAL Connect feature allows the audio signal to bypass a smartphone and get fed directly into a DAC (digital to analog converter) for processing, allowing for a cleaner transmission path for decoding. In turn, the TIDAL mobile app merely becomes a remote control for selecting music. Without the “Connect” feature the digital audio stream is sent into a phone/tablet/laptop and then transferred via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to a compatible device, speaker, or headphone for playback.
In response to listeners’ requests to make it easier to listen to and discover more Masters tracks, TIDAL has added ‘Master Edition’ Artist Radio and Track Radio. TIDAL members can listen to radio stations in the best quality available containing Masters only songs, uninterrupted. In conjunction, TIDAL is adding the Master Edition of My New Arrivals, a personalized playlist of new music in full master quality audio for members based on their listening habits. Using less bandwidth, MQA technology packages and delivers master quality audio to music fans making MQA files accessible to listeners on-the-go, with any headphones.
TIDAL offers the largest MQA catalog outside of China. In addition, TIDAL offers music lovers unlimited access to its extensive catalog of over 70 million tracks across all genres, thousands of expertly curated playlists by TIDAL’s seasoned editorial team, and endless artist radio stations. For more information visit tidal.com/connect or tidal.com/sound-quality.
TIDAL is an artist-owned global music and entertainment platform that brings artists and fans closer together through unique original content and exclusive events. Available in 56 countries, the streaming service has more than 70 million songs and 250,000 high quality videos in its catalog along with original video series, podcasts, thousands of expertly curated playlists and artist discovery via TIDAL Rising. With the commitment of its owners to create a more sustainable model for the music industry, TIDAL is available in premium and HiFi tiers—recordings which includes Master Quality Authenticated (MQA), Sony’s 360 Reality Audio recordings, and Dolby Atmos Music.
Using pioneering scientific research into how people hear, MQA has created a technology that captures the sound of the original studio performance. The master MQA file is fully authenticated and is small enough to stream, while also being backward compatible, so you can play MQA music on any device. MQA’s award-winning technology is licensed by labels, music services and hardware manufacturers worldwide and is certified by the RIAA.