SEOUL, Jul. 18 (Korea Bizwire) — As the number of high-spec smartphone users continues to rise in South Korea, and with the music industry eyeing new business models, high quality music downloading and streaming services are no longer the exclusive property of audio system lovers.
Similar to how the broadcasting industry has been progressing from full high-definition to ultra-high-definition, music streaming service providers are rushing to offer Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) files in response to growing demand, thanks to the many recent smartphone models featuring digital-to-analog converters and high memory storage capacity.
“Only up until four to five years ago, it took tens of millions won for an individual to purchase a high quality sound system, let alone download high-quality music files. These days however, as a smartphone and a headset within the price range of 200,000 to 300,000 won allow listeners to enjoy high-quality audio, we are ramping up our FLAC streaming service efforts,” a streaming service official said.
While an MP3 file is on average sold for 700 won ($0.62) among South Korean music downloading services, FLAC audio files are on offer for prices between 900 and 2,400 won.
Among the South Korean online music services focusing on FLAC files amid the overheating MP3 industry is Bugs, which began offering its high-quality music service in 2009.
Since the service was launched with around 250,000 FLAC files, a total of over 10 million songs have come into Bugs’ possession over the last seven years, accounting for half of all of the songs it owns.
High quality music files are estimated to account for 5 percent of the music streamed on the service, while 19 percent of its users are thought to have played FLAC files.
Melon, another online music service that boasts over 10 million high-quality music files, launched a new service called ‘Melon Hi-Fi’ earlier this month, allowing users to enjoy high-quality music from different devices with recommendation and chart features.
As mobile providers KT and LG Uplus are also accelerating their efforts to revamp their music services, growing competition to attract music listeners amid heightened demand for high quality music is expected to continue for the time being.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)