While there has been a market for high-resolution audio, it has mostly been among audiophiles. But with so many music aficionados out there, Sony Electronics thinks it’s time to broaden the market.
The company is placing nearly 80 Hi-Res Listening Stations in Best Buy Magnolia Design Center stores nationwide. Equipped with tablets and special listening devices, the kiosks will enable consumers to explore the high-resolution audio for a variety of music genres and on a variety of products.
“Hi-Res audio has been a bit of a secret,” Michael Cuellar, manager of video and sound for Sony U.S. and Canada, tells Marketing Daily. “It’s been overwhelmingly well received among audiophiles, but we really wanted to take this into the music-enthusiast space.”
According to the Consumer Technology Association (formerly the Consumer Electronics Association), more than half of audio technology consumers are interested in Hi Res Audio, and three-quarters headed into the stores to research products.
Sony’s kiosks are supported by Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, will be updated with clips from established and emerging artists and updated quarterly.
“We wanted to make sure it was a top-to-bottom story so that [consumers] know it’s not about the technology, but about the music,” Cuellar says. “We are looking to have it be more than a retail display. We see this more as a gathering point.”
Each Hi-Res Listening Station will include an integrated tablet for consumers to browse more information about the product in general, music discographies and video testimonials. The program will also include incentive offers from Magnolia at Best Buy and HDtracks.
“We talk a lot about Hi-Res audio, but at the end of the day, hearing is believing,” Cuellar says. “We wanted to get this out in front of a wider market and them them know there is a better quality of music than they have today.”