As the founder of music technology firm MQA – and before that of Meridian Audio – Bob Stuart has plenty of views on audio quality and the evolution of music services.
This week, he shared them in a keynote interview at the Music Ally China Digital Summit, for which he was interviewed by Vickie Nauman, founder and CEO of CrossBorderWorks. Stuart started by looking back to the early days of digital music.
“My work began in the analog era, before digital existed, and when digital came obviously we were very interested in it, because digital has a promise that we can store the music without damage, and we can transmit it easily without damage,” he said.
“Those are real benefits, but even at the beginning of digital people were arguing about the sound quality. Was it as good as analog, you know?”
Stuart cited the transition from vinyl to CD as a “hugely important” moment for the music industry because – and vinyl lovers may want to look away at this point – “it brought a very clear sound, a better sound, and a more robust form of distribution to everybody”.
However, he also looked back to the period around 2000 when he and his peers were exploring a next step “from CD to high resolution” only for technology to take another course.