Back in the Napster and LimeWire glory days when I first started listening to music using a computer, “download” and “free” were basically synonymous. With the arrival of iTunes, the paradigm shifted to having to pay actual money for compressed downloads of albums and individual tracks, and HDtracks later upped the ante with uncompressed, high-res music downloads.
Now that we’re in the streaming era, subscription services like Qobuz give you unlimited access to a vast library of high-res music, all of it instantly available at the tap of a smartphone’s touchscreen. But maybe you haven’t yet listened in high-res or are dubious of any advantage it offers over CD-quality, or even compressed formats. If so, here’s your chance to get some choice high-res albums from Qobuz for the low, low price of absolutely free.
A Summer Music Gifts promotion Qobuz is currently running lets curious listeners download from a selection of 7 classical music releases, all of them culled from the Harmonia Mundi catalog. Four of the titles are available in 24-bit high-res FLAC format, while the others are CD-quality offerings. Sorry, a free download of AC/DC’s Back in Black, which just celebrated its 40th birthday (!) isn’t part of the Summer Music Gifts promotion, but you can always buy a high-res version of that from Qobuz, or access it anytime if you subscribe to the service.
What’s the catch? Qobuz is clearly trying to acquaint listeners with its service, and also with high-res music, the latter being something that’s arguably best showcased via acoustic classical music recordings. While it will be necessary to first create a Qobuz account to download the free albums, you won’t be required to enter credit card information—something that many streaming services require before giving you anything for free.
The Summer Music Gifts promotion runs through August 15. You can check out the details, along with the selection of free recordings, at this link.