MQA Strikes Deal with Indie Music Labels

MQA, creator of the end-to-end audio encoding technology Master Quality Authenticated (MQA), has entered into a multi-year agreement with digital rights agency Merlin that paves the way for the independent music labels it represents to encode their master recordings in the MQA format.

With global deals in place with the likes of Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, Google Play, Deezer, and Soundcloud, Merlin provides access to new and emerging digital revenue streams to thousands of independent labels and distributors in more than 50 countries. The agency has also negotiated copyright infringement settlements for its members with Limewire, XM Satellite Radio, and Grooveshark.

Labels represented by Merlin include Sub Pop, Beggars Group, Secretly Group, Domino, Epitaph, Anti Records, Entertainment One, Redeye Worldwide, !K7, Kobalt Music Recordings, [PIAS], Merge, Warp, Hopeless Records, Armada Music, Mad Decent, Eleven Seven Music, Naxos, and Curb Records.

“We’re excited to work with the leaders of the independent community to further fuel the availability of master quality recordings for music fans,” said MQA CEO Mike Jbara.

“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 high-resolution audio will have the greatest appeal,” said Merlin CEO Charles Caldas. “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.”

Launched commercially in 2016, the MQA format is currently available on Tidal, and is compatible with a growing list of audio hardware that includes Pioneer, Technics, Onkyo, Bluesound, NAD, Meridian, Mytek, Kripton, Brinkmann, Aurender, Cary Audio, and MSB.

Using pioneering research into how people hear, MQA technology is designed to capture the sound of the original studio performance in a file small enough to stream and backward compatible so it can play on any device.

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