Convenience has historically been more of a driver for digital music than sound quality, whether it’s the ability to squeeze more songs onto iPods and smartphones, or bandwidth/data concerns when streaming over fixed or mobile networks.
In 2013, though, audio quality may be back on the agenda, with Jimmy Iovine determined to make it a selling point for Beats’ Daisy service. Now Singapore-based firm MP4SLS is touting its OraStream as “the world’s first HD-Quality cloud-music service”.
The gist: people can upload and stream music at lossless quality, with labels, producers and artists also able to use OraStream to sell songs at up to 24-bit / 192kHz quality directly to fans.
“Labels, producers and artists can now upload all their music to the OraStream Cloud, for sharing with their peers and fans in glorious HD-Quality audio,” explains the company. “By enabling the Store option, with one click they can sell directly to their fans, and publish their own mobile apps.”
OraStream has already worked with artists including Neil Young, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby Stills and Nash and Jackson Browne – which gives you an accurate sense of the initial demographic of music fan who may be most interested in the promise of HD streams.
The cloud service is available globally, but for now MP4SLS isn’t looking to license catalogue from labels like a Spotify would: it wants to be more of a D2C storefront platform for them.
As things stand, there hasn’t been much overt demand for higher quality streaming music, but that’s because it’s early days still for the sector. As people start streaming through better equipment – whether hi-fis or headphones – they may seek out better quality streams.
OraStream has been kicking about for some time as a technology, and it may be something for audiophiles rather than mainstream consumers, but the audiophile market is pretty lucrative. We wonder if a deal or two with high-end hi-fi makers is what’s needed to make it fly though.