High-quality music streaming format MQA is now available in China. The British-made format, which delivers authenticated master-quality music in small, streamable files, has debuted on the Xiami streaming service operated by Chinese retail giant Alibaba.
MQA is being introduced to Xiami's SVIP tier. All users will be offered a free trial, after which they have to subscribe in order to keep listening to MQA tracks.
MQA stands for Master Quality Authenticated. The format was launched by British hi-fi brand Meridian in 2014, and is now run by an independent company called MQA Ltd, founded by Bob Stuart, Meridian's co-founder.
China is no slouch when it comes to adopting the format. Despite this being the first compatible streaming service, China is already the fourth-largest market globally for sales of MQA devices.
Long Yang, director of Xiami Music, said the format would improve the service for listeners and music-makers alike: "We are very proud to be the first music service in China to offer MQA, as we continue to push the technological boundaries in pursuit of improved sound quality to benefit our music fans and all musicians on our platform," he said in a statement.
Mike Jbara, MQA's CEO, added that Alibaba's wider business would help spread MQA as a format: "Many of MQA’s current device partners have successful and growing relationships within Alibaba’s e-commerce businesses, so this collaboration is the perfect platform on which to create a complete MQA ecosystem for the Chinese consumer market,” he said.
China's recorded music market currently ranks seventh globally in terms of revenue. It holds enormous potential for growth - out of a population of 1.4 billion people, only 33 million subscribe to a music streaming service, according to the IFPI Global Music Report 2019.