Is Qobuz the best music streaming service you've never heard of?
Should you WRAP UP your Spotify account?
I was one of the last folks to join Spotify. Something always bothered me about paying one price for infinite music. There was no way it could be fair to recording artists, and I was right. But, eventually, I got off my high horse and joined. It was fun at first, but I kept getting the sinking feeling that Spotify didn't actually like musicians. Especially “indie” ones. Their dubious move into podcasting, and ho-hum sound quality. It was time to switch.
I moved to Apple Music earlier this year and found its audio quality noticeably better. (Spotify has teased the idea of uncompressed high-res audio for years. But never pulled the trigger.)
But, then something happened. I bought a Walkman. Yeah, they still exist! With this purchase, I was compelled to re-examine the streaming services available. Luckily all of them have free trials.
Qobuz instantly stood head and shoulders above the rest. Tidal was close, Apple Music too. But, something about Qobuz…the music felt more lush and alive. It was exciting.
I had never heard of this service before. Don’t even know how to pronounce its name! But, I was hooked on sound quality alone. Digging deeper, I became intrigued by their algorithm. Or should I say the lack of one.
The beauty of Qobuz is that human beings drive it. I’m delivered new album picks by real people weekly. On top of that, there's a "magazine" section with interviews and editorials. The whole thing feels more adult, not just recommending the latest and greatest. But, older, eclectic stuff too.
At this point in my life, I'm over computers telling me what I might like. Give me a human being with a different life experience and different tastes to recommend something to me. Get me out of this algorithm hell.
Qobuz feels like walking into a record store and someone excited about music pulling you along and describing all the new stock they have. You can feel it all over the app, especially in the album descriptions.
The one downside to Qobuz is Apple Carplay. It’s unfortunately very spotty. And I can’t use Siri to call up songs. I’ve sent an email to the company in hopes they can work on this feature.
I wake up earlier than my wife and kid, and that time is usually reserved for writing. But, I finished my first book, and I wanted to do something recreational for a change. I wanted to listen to music without looking at social media or emails. I wanted to be absorbed.
I've been listening to music on my Walkman for a few weeks via Qobuz and love it. Look forward to it. It's the first time I've felt this intimate relationship with music since college. Before streaming services and all-access smartphones obliterated that bond.
Oh. And I finally figured out how to pronounce it.
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