Consumers and the ecosystem are ready for more high-resolution audio (HRA) options.
At the 2014 International CES, consumer electronics manufacturers, retailers, music labels, and artists came together to support, promote, and examine key issues surrounding HRA at the Hi-Res Audio Experience TechZone and panel sessions. The Hi-Res Audio Experience TechZone was anchored by hi-res digital download pioneer and leader HD Tracks and included booths from Acoustic Sounds Super HiRez, iTrax, Blue Coast Music, Mytek Digital, and Native DSD Music.
Over the course of the 2014 CES, the Hi-Res Audio Experience TechZone featured three panels: “Welcome to the Hi-Res Music World,” “Meet the Hi-Res Music Creators,” and “Hi-Res Audio for Every Lifestyle.” Producers, label executives, and audio device manufactures discussed what the mainstream HRA file type will be, how to evangelize consumers to seek out HRA, and what the music industry can do together to further HRA.
“A common theme we saw at the Hi-Res Audio Experience is that 2014 is going to be the year that we see a significant uptick in the popularity and success of HRA,” said Karen Chupka, senior vice president for International CES and corporate business strategy. “We expect more HRA announcements over the next year and anticipate that the technology will have a strong presence again next year at the 2015 International CES.”
The panelists at each session held differing opinions about which file type is best for HRA, but agreed that eventually the market will decide what will rise to the top. Many of those who spoke also agreed that the experience of listening to HRA is an important part of communicating why the format is beneficial to the listener, and that the industry needs to work on changing the mindset of consumers.
“The Hi-Res Experience TechZone at this year’s CES was a resounding success,” said Marc Finer, technical director for DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. “Thanks to CEA’s support, we were able to bring together, for the first time, the industry’s leading players, including music companies, digital retailers, content creators and hardware manufacturers. All of these people came together to deliver a unified message, because they care about the quality of digital music.”
Adoption of HRA offers benefits for consumers, as well as new market opportunities for the CE and music industries. HRA offers the highest digital sound quality while retaining the benefits of digital audio, such as portability and personalization. HRA music files provide greater clarity and detail than MP3s and other compressed digital audio formats, resulting in a listening experience that more closely represents the original recording.
Music labels are expanding their HRA catalogs online with tens of thousands of HRA albums already available for download across all music genres. Every major music label has expressed support for HRA, including Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group, in addition to leading independent labels. HRA digital music stores are already online, with more being added each day.
CEA’s Home Audio Division and The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing recently relaunched QualitySoundMatters.com, a website dedicated to improving the digital music listening experience. The site offers rich content and targeted information for consumers and professionals alike, providing articles on products, technologies, record labels, recording artists, and music producers who are leading the way in the quality revolution and explaining how to find and enjoy quality music recordings.
For more information on the Hi-Res Audio Experience Tech Zone and the panelists, visit: CESWeb.org/Conference/Conference-Tracks/High-Resolution-Audio-Experience.
For more on HRA, visit: HiResAudioCentral.com