MQA Struggles for Relevance, Lenbrook's Rescue Plan Revealed

MQA Struggles for Relevance, Lenbrook's Rescue Plan Revealed

In the world of audio technology, timing can be everything. Lenbrook, the parent company of Bluesound, NAD, and PSB Speakers, has made a significant move by acquiring the assets of MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), a UK-based high-resolution audio encoding. While MQA's future in the market may seem uncertain due to Tidal's shift to FLAC, Lenbrook's acquisition has placed MQA's intellectual property in capable hands, ensuring its continued existence in some form.

Lenbrook's Vision: Innovation and Excellence

Lenbrook, a Canadian enterprise involved in brand development, technology, and distribution in the audio and communication sectors, now enriches its intellectual property portfolio with MQA and SCL6, two prominent audio codecs. This acquisition reinforces Lenbrook's commitment to excellence and innovation in audio technology.

What Industry Experts Say:

  • George Massenburg, Grammy-winning producer and recording engineer, appreciates MQA's technology for its "faithful rendering of detail, complexity, and soundstage," enabling a return to high-quality audio.

  • Morten Lindberg, Grammy-nominated Master Engineer at 2L, highlights the benefits of MQA, including enhanced transparency, access to sonic details, and reduced listening fatigue.

The Challenge: Tidal's Shift to FLAC

Tidal, one of the major streaming music services that offered MQA-encoded tracks to its subscribers, has made significant changes. In 2023, Tidal began transitioning its entire hi-res music library to the FLAC format, casting uncertainty over the future of MQA-encoded music.

Lenbrook's Strategy: Ensuring Business and Technical Continuity

Lenbrook has secured a core group of engineers, developers, and sales and marketing personnel to maintain business and technical continuity. This move is crucial to safeguard MQA's existing licensing deals and ensure stability for Lenbrook and the broader MQA ecosystem.

What's Next: The Tidal Problem

Lenbrook's immediate focus may be resolving the Tidal challenge. This could involve renegotiating licensing terms to allow Tidal to retain its MQA catalog at a reduced cost. Alternatively, Lenbrook might explore partnerships with other streaming services, such as Apple Music, Amazon Music, Qobuz, or even Spotify, to ensure the continued availability of MQA-encoded music.

A Brighter Future for MQA?

While MQA has faced its share of controversy and debate, Lenbrook's acquisition signals a commitment to advancing audio processing and sound reproduction. It's a move that could reshape the landscape of high-resolution audio and ensure that MQA's innovative technology continues to serve the industry's interests.