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May 6, 2019 | News Articles

Record Labels Crank Up Hi Res Music

More than 1,000 Studio Quality albums now added to music services each month

WASHINGTON – The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) today issued a first-ever tally of high-resolution (“hi-res”) music titles available in the U.S., illustrating the high priority record labels place on assuring fans have access to the highest-quality music listening experiences.

According to new data compiled by the RIAA from its member labels, more than 33,500 albums representing nearly 400,000 tracks are currently available in Studio Quality formats to stream or download in the U.S. These figures represent a 29% increase over a year ago, as major labels are now releasing some 1,000 albums per month in Studio Quality formats.

Studio Quality is defined as a category encompassing both Hi Res Audio (48khz/20-bit or higher) and the studio production format of 44.1kHz/24-bit audio.

RIAA Chief Technology Officer David Hughes said, “Fans now have access to their favorite music in more ways than ever before, in more formats than ever before, and with better quality than ever before. To meet fans’ growing demand for the highest-quality sound, labels have made the development of the hi-res music market a top priority. It’s another example of how labels continue to drive music forward and provide fans new ways to listen and engage with music.”

Studio Quality formats are already widely available for some of the U.S.’s most popular music of all time:

  • 77% of RIAA’s 100 Highest Gold & Platinum Certified Albums
  • 79% of one major streaming service’s Top 100 All-Time Streamed Tracks
  • 78% of the SoundScan’s Top 100 Albums of 2018
  • 68% of one major streaming service’s Top Weekly Tracks

The report was issued as a new hi-res audio showcase opens at the 2019 MusicBiz Nashville conference. The Future Is Now Music Experience will run from May 5-7 in the Viola Room on the second floor of Nashville’s  JW Marriott hotel. The exhibit will feature demonstrations from several leading companies that offer hi-res streaming services and devices.

The RIAA and its member companies have long supported the hi-res music market. In 2015, they  launched a program to help music fans more easily identify the highest-quality digital music available on digital download services. After widespread adoption of the program and its distinct logo by digital download services, the initiative was expanded to include titles available on streaming services in 2016.

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