The availability of songs in High-Resolution Audio format is on the rise across all genres. But with this huge selection of high-quality songs now accessible through music downloading sites or streaming services, sometimes it's hard to narrow down your choices.
Sony reached out to HDtracks, which has one of the biggest collections of downloadable High-Resolution Audio songs in the U.S., and Qobuz, which allows you to stream and download high-resolution songs in Europe, to identify the top music in 2015 high-resolution music libraries.
"New rock, classic rock and classic jazz are our most popular genres. However, these are followed closely by metal, pop rock, pop, and mainstream classical releases," senior vice president of HDtracks Lisa Marks said. "Our typical consumer is an avid mature music fan with wide-ranging tastes who wants the best audio experience."
HDtracks' best seller list ranges from audiophile classics like "Jazz At The Pawnshop" to Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories."
Here are this year's five most popular High-Resolution Audio albums downloaded from HDtracks:
Artist: Diana Krall
Trading in jazz for pop, Krall teamed up with 16 time Grammy® Award-winner and pianist David Foster to pull this album off. She revisits pop ballads from her childhood in the '60s and '70s in "Wallflower," even singing with Timothy Schmit of The Eagles to recreate "I Can't Tell You Why."
Artist: Jethro Tull
Originally released in 1971, this cerebral album was quite different from what most rock fans were listening to at the time. Even though the sound was different, the album ended up being Jethro's best-selling album. This version was released in 2015 and was mixed and remastered by Steven Wilson.
3. "Physical Graffiti"
Artist: Led Zeppelin
This album was originally released in 1975 by English rock band Led Zeppelin. It was released as a double album because the long song lengths stretched the record beyond the length of a typical LP. It has sold over 8 million copies in the United States.
4. "Come Away with Me"
Artist: Norah Jones
Jones' debut album, "Come Away with Me" mixes several different genres including pop, country, blues, and jazz. It won eight Grammy® Awards along with countless other major music honors. It has sold more than 26 million copies worldwide.
5. "Kind of Blue"
Artist: Miles Davis
One of the best-selling Jazz records of all time, this 1959 album has influenced many writers and musicians around the world. Davis focused on modality, which is a contrast from the hard bop style of jazz found in his previous albums. Music critics regard "Kind of Blue" as Miles Davis' great masterpiece.
Below are the other five albums that made HDtracks' Top 10 Albums of 2015:
"Amused to Death" by Roger Walter
"Led Zeppelin IV" by Led Zeppelin
"Hand Cannot Erase" by Steve Wilson
"Before This World" by James Taylor
"Morning Phase" by Beck
Across the pond, Qobuz sold twice the number of albums in High-Resolution Audio this year than it did in 2014. Not only that, but the top albums sold are a diversification of genres.
"Many different genres are present in the charts in 2015," Marketing Manager Malcolm Ouzeri said. "While jazz and classical music were stronger before, now there are more pop and rock albums. Somehow, the High-Resolution market became more accessible."
Here are the five most popular High-Resolution Audio albums downloaded from Qobuz:
1. "Crime of the Century (HD Remaster)"
As the breakthrough album for the progressive rock band, "Crime of the Century" was the first to feature new band members drummer Bob Siebenberg, woodwinds player John Anthony Helliwell and bassist Dougie Thomson. It was a UK Top 10 album.
Artist: Michael Jackson
A staple in any top hits list, "Thriller" is the best-selling album of all time, with sales of 65 million copies worldwide. Winning eight Grammy® Awards in 1984, "Thriller" still withstands the test of time.
"Drones" is Muse's seventh album, released in June this year. It marks a return to the simpler guitar-bass-drums rock of the albums released in Muse's earlier years
4. "Tracker (Deluxe)"
Artist: Mark Knopfler
This British singer-songwriter released "Tracker" this year. Although Knopfler is best known for being the lead guitarist and singer for Dire Straits, he went solo to showcase his own unique sound when the band split up in 1995.
5. "Currency of Man (Deluxe Edition)"
Artist: Melody Gardot
Even though this album was released this year, Gardot has been inspired by elements of '70s funk coupled with string instruments and bursts of horns. "Currency of Man" is a testament to her ever-evolving sound with flashes of the unexpected.
Now that you know what your fellow audiophiles in the U.S. and Europe are downloading the most, your new sound-quality experience is just one click away. Plus, with the new ZX2 High-Resolution Walkman®, you can store 128 GB worth of High-Resolution Audio songs. So you can download as many new albums as you wish and bring them with you wherever you go!
(HDtracks is available in the U.S., UK, and Germany. Qobuz is available in France, UK, and Germany)