January 2023 Editorial

Here's the QUARdisc, a new media, halfway physical and digital music support. Not hardware, not software...is it vapourware?


Author: Lucio Cadeddu - TNT Italy
Published: January, 2023

Let's start the 2023 with a boom! After LPs, CDs, SACDs, Compact Cassettes, open reels, USB pens, streaming devices, STEM players, Mixxtapes, Stereo8's, 8D Audio, hard disks, NAS, memory cards...are you ready for another music format? Well, folks, I'm not.

Clearly, the guys at QUARdisc think differently. They created a start-up enterprise to introduce a new music storage media, which is halfway between a physical media like the LP and a digital device like a USB pen. They call it phydigital, or Music 3.0, but it seems vapourware to me. The only thing we audiophiles may dream of is a phydigital version of YouPorn, if a completely physical version isn't available. Heaven knows how much we audiophiles love physical media ;-)

What is a QUARdisc, you may ask. Well, after a time-consuming slalom among the obscure words and phrases of the press release (marketing men, please gimme a break!) here's the core business: the QUARdisc is a physical object, the size of a standard LP cover, with all the bells and whistles included: artwork, 16-page booklet and so on. Included, there's also a sort of USB pen, that contains a music album, in two formats: 16/44 WAV and 192 bps MP3. The device has an engraved QR code that you need to scan with your QR reader. This will prompt you to the download of the proprietary app (not available on the usual repositories) that, once installed, will create a personal profile on a platform, letting you finally listen to the music itself. Many other features are/will be included, for more info please refer to the QUARdisc official website (apparently in Italian only).

The first release, priced at the introductory price of 34.90€, will be available on Jan. 20 and will be a collection of covers of the Italian songwriter Franco Battiato, titled “Invito al viaggio”. New releases should follow week after week.

Here are my thoughts on this new music media. Let's call it positive criticism.

I'm wondering whether or not the creators have performed a market analysis before setting up the new media. I hope they did. Why? Because young generations do not love complicated stuff, all they want is a smartphone and a quick way to freely access their music. Possibly for free. And when they fall in love with physical media, they buy vinyl. On the other hand, old chaps like us simple hate such a technological tour de force: just give me a disc and let me press play. Or a file. Or a needle and a groove. I don't need another app, another platform, another USB device, another QR code. Moreover, for 35€, I can get two full months of high-resolution unlimited streaming music access, delivered right to my smartphone, tablet or PC.

You see? I'm not convinced, but I might be deadly wrong. Let's hope so.

Copyright © 2022 Lucio Cadeddu - editor@tnt-audio.com - www.tnt-audio.com