The streaming service Tidal is now taking the consequences of MQA’s financial problems and has now made FLAC the preferred format for high-resolution music.
This was announced last night by Tidal CEO Jesse Dorogusker on the social media site Reddit. The CEO further states that the open FLAC format is in accordance with Tidal’s ideas about openness:
“It’s open source, allowing greater access for artists and fans, and aligns with TIDAL’s support for open platforms.”
In practice, this also means that the high-resolution music will be available to more people, as it can be played on any newer streamer or DAC, while only a minority of hi-fi manufacturers have chosen to purchase a licence to build MQA decoding into their products.
Initially, six million tracks will be available in high-resolution, lossless FLAC format, in resolutions up to 24-bit/192 kHz.
The change only affects HiFi Plus subscribers with access to Tidal Masters recordings, as regular HiFi subscribers already receive their streamed music in FLAC format in CD quality.
Although Tidal has officially replaced the controversial MQA format with HD FLAC, it seems that high-resolution music files will be streamed in both formats in the future.
Even if you are a Tidal HiFi Plus user, it may take some time before the transition to FLAC becomes visible. Initially, the high res FLAC format will only be tested for users of the iOS app who have signed up for Tidal’s beta test programme. For the rest of us, the high-resolution, lossless music files will be available from August.