a 2 i m

Merlin Deal Heralds Boost for Master Quality Audio


World’s leading independent labels strike multi-year agreement to encode masters in MQA

 London, 15 May 2017 – MQA and Merlin, the global digital rights agency for the independent label sector, have today announced a multi-year agreement that will support the world’s best-known independent labels to encode their master recordings in MQA’s industry-leading technology.

The partnership will boost the uptake and growth ofmaster quality audio streaming, and paves the way for Merlin member labels and their artists to remain at the forefront of the market.

MQA is an award-winning technology, which delivers master quality audio in a file small enough to stream or download.  By delivering the sound of the studio, MQA enables the listener to step into the artists’ original performances.

Launched commercially in 2015, the MQA format is currently available on TIDAL, and is compatible with a rapidly growing list of hardware products including Pioneer, Technics, Onkyo, Bluesound, NAD, Meridian, Mytek, Kripton, Brinkmann, Aurender, Cary Audio and MSB, with many more announcements in the pipeline. MQA is in ongoing discussions with other delivery partners to enable streaming of master quality files.

Merlin acts collectively on behalf of thousands of independent record labels and distributors from more than 50 countries, allowing them effective access to new and emerging digital revenue streams. On their behalf, Merlin has agreed global deals with the world’s most important new-generation digital music services, including Deezer, Google Play, KKBOX, Pandora, Soundcloud, Spotify, VEVO and YouTube.

Mike Jbara, CEO of MQA, said:

MQA’s commitment is to provide exceptional sound quality from the studio recording all the way through to the consumer.  We’re excited to work with the leaders of the independent community to further fuel the availability of master quality recordings for music fans.”

Charles Caldas, CEO, Merlin, commented:

“We are delighted to be partnering with MQA. From our own data, we know that Merlin members’ repertoire performs best on paid-for subscription tiers*, and it’s to this high-spending consumer demographic that hi-resolution audio will have the greatest appeal. Consequently, today’s future-facing agreement makes perfect sense – offering our independent label members a fast track entry point to an exciting segment of the streaming market, and ensuring they remain at its forefront.”

About A2IM:
A2IM is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization headquartered in New York City that exists to support and strengthen the independent recorded music sector. Membership currently includes a broad coalition of more than 700 Independently-owned American music labels. A2IM represents these independently owned small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) interests in the marketplace, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and as part of the global music community. In doing so, it supports a key segment of America’s creative class that represents America’s diverse musical cultural heritage. Billboard Magazine identified the Independent music label sector as 37.32 percent of the music industry’s U.S. recorded music sales market in 2016 based on copyright ownership, making Independent labels collectively the largest music industry sector.

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