[Interview] Qobuz CEO Yves Riesel talks music and technology

Feb 12, 2014
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In a second in a series of interviews from MIDEM with leaders from across the digital music industry, I catch-up with Yves Riesel, CEO & Co-Founder of Qobuz Music Group, a growing leader in high definition music streaming and downloads. In a very crowded space with the likes of Spotify and Deezer still on the rise, Qobuz is betting on its laser focus on the music quality, technological innovation, and the depth of their catalog to surge ahead in the ever-evolving digital music market.

Why is MIDEM an important event for you?
I’ve been attending this event for 28 years. I’m here to meet with colleagues, record companies, publishers, artists and tech companies.

What do you think about the relationship between music and technology?
The music industry has always been strictly connected to innovation and technology.

Technical advances have always fascinated me, when I saw CDs replacing records in the 80s, I knew it was only the beginning.
There’s a prophetic phrase someone once told me, which influenced my search in the music industry : “one day music will arrive at home like electricity and gas”. This idea, together with my interest in databases and digital music is at the origin of Qobuz.

Why did you choose the music business?
I have a great passion for music, especially classical music and french song. I studied to become a pianist, but as I rapidly understood I was not meant to be a professional musician, I became a collector. I started buying records when I was 14 and collected 7000 LPs.

What are your company goals?
The most important thing for me is the quality : the quality of music and of its contextual information.

At the moment we are developing at the international level and our aim is to be the biggest download and streaming service thanks to our large catalogue and a quality of sound up to 24 bits/192 kHz for audio downloads and multi channel 5.1.

What is the difference between Qobuz and its competitors?
The biggest differences are the large catalogue, the quality of sound and the related content.

Which trends do you imagine for the music industry?
In my opinion the future of music will be in the cloud, as it’s the perfect solution to store heavy music files and to access them from any device anywhere in the world.

I also imagine that boundaries between streaming and download will become thinner and everything will be about the different levels of property.

Can you give some advice to music startups?
Many of the people creating music companies today don’t come from the music industry and are not really close to consumers.  To be successful startups should think about their users and try to enhance their experience in music discovery.

I think tech music projects should be made with a sense of responsibility, keeping in mind that music is not for free.