Music industry trends

the history and evolution of High-Resolution Audio

A key player in the music industry, Sony has always been a pioneer for personal and portable music. We became a household name in 1979 with the first-ever Walkman® that allowed people to take their music on-the-go. More than 35 years later, Sony is still rocking the music trends by introducing mainstream audiences to High-Resolution Audio.

People deeply involved in the music industry—musicians, audiophiles and music lovers alike—have been dreaming of the day they could create and listen to music that sounds just like it does in the recording studio. Sony was at the forefront of making that dream a reality and continues to be a leader in the High-Resolution Audio movement today.

Here are just a few of the highlights

in the exciting history and evolution of High-Resolution Audio within the music industry

2013 — The upsurge of High-Resolution Audio products

The average person had never heard of High-Resolution Audio, partly because there weren't many high-resolution products available to the public. Sony changed that by defining High-Resolution Audio in terms that everyone could understand, and launching a wide range of High-Resolution Audio products—from headphones, amplifiers and portable players to audio systems and speakers for the home. After Sony, many other brands followed suit and began to offer more high-resolution products.

2014 — The rise of the High-Resolution Audio industry

The boom of High-Resolution Audio downloading websites

As one of the music trends in 2014, new online music services offering downloadable High-Resolution Audio in various different file formats started popping up due to the explosion of High-Resolution Audio gear. Sony partnered with many of these downloading sites to ensure that audiophiles were receiving the highest-quality audio and had access to the biggest selection of music titles.

The birth of the High-Resolution Audio logo

You may have seen the High-Resolution Audio certified logo on many of Sony’s products. This certification was made possible, thanks to cross-industry collaboration and support from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), artists, record labels in the music industry as well as leaders of the electronic manufacturing world including Sony. This collaboration was also the origin of the official definition of High-Resolution Audio: "lossless audio that is capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better-than-CD quality music sources."

Taking High-Resolution Audio on the go

Making High-Resolution Audio portable was a major goal for all electronic manufacturers in the music industry. This gave us the opportunity to give our famous Sony Walkman® an audio makeover. The NWZ-A17 Walkman® was the answer to the audiophile's prayers, boasting 64 GB of storage space to store all of your high-resolution music, up to 50 hours of battery life, and a microSD memory card slot if you want even more music storage.

To check out the Sony MDR-Z7 headphones

2015 and Beyond — The future of High-Resolution Audio

There is an increasing demand for improved sound quality among music enthusiasts, music lovers and audiophiles everywhere. In fact, in previous studies, when consumers were asked to identify their most important criteria for listening enjoyment, ninety percent chose sound quality as the most important factor, and sixty percent were willing to pay more for higher quality sound.

There is no doubt that High-Resolution Audio is quickly becoming a music trend and the future of digital music. What do you think is next in the music evolution of High-Resolution Audio?

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