Qobuz, the leading hi-res music streaming and download platform, grows as it appoints three new roles to support the global expansion of the brand
London, UK, 22 June 2021 – Music platform Qobuz has appointed a London-based managing director, Ritch Sibthorpe, for the Northern Europe and Australasia region.
Sibthorpe’s role will support Qobuz’s international growth ambitions as it consolidates its position as the ultimate choice for discerning music fans seeking specialist curation and in-depth editorial, combined with the world’s largest catalogue of hi-res music available to stream and download. The move means Qobuz has a presence in London for the first time, from which it will oversee markets including the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Australia and New Zealand.
Sibthorpe draws on twenty-years’ experience including a decade in the music industry driving digital innovation, international marketing and business development. His career started in music journalism and brand PR before joining Warner Music Group as vice president, digital marketing and content partnerships, supporting Atlantic Records, Nonesuch, Rhino, Warner Music UK and Warner Records. Sibthorpe subsequently became managing director, Disney Music Group EMEA, leading the company’s regional recorded music, music publishing and live music businesses including Disney Music Publishing, Hollywood Records and Walt Disney Records. Most recently, he led global marketing and PR for Chelsea Football Club’s digital ventures unit.
Ritch Sibthorpe says: “I’m very excited about joining the Qobuz family. It’s the ultimate choice for music aficionados seeking an alternative to the mainstream. The passion of the team and its undiluted focus on the art of music means Qobuz delivers the closest possible digital experience to spending time in your local neighbourhood record store. Connecting with music fans, artists, communities and cultures at a local level is at the heart of our philosophy and I look forward to helping develop, and support, the Qobuz community in the region.”
Sibthorpe joins an ever-growing global Qobuz team, with two new appointees in the following roles: Fabian Sautier as Chief Brand Officer and Pierre Largeas as Managing Director of Southern Europe, both based in Paris HQ.
Fabian Sautier is appointed as Chief Brand Officer of Qobuz. He will spearhead global marketing campaigns: Brand, Digital, Media, PR and Creative. Sautier brings 12 years of international experience in strategic marketing, product development and innovation across multiple consumer industries. Prior to Head of Marketing for Under Armour in France and Southern Europe, Sautier worked for L’Oreal for seven years piloting marketing strategy and innovation as director of global marketing.
Additionally, Pierre Largeas joins as Managing Director of Southern Europe. Largeas will manage commercial and operational activities to support revenue growth in France, Italy, Spain and affiliated markets. With many years of experience within the international E-Commerce sector, Largeas has previously held positions at Airbus, Henkel, Jumia Group and iziwork.
In making the announcement, Georges Fornay, CEO Deputy for Qobuz, says: “We are excited to have three new exceptional hires join our rapidly growing team. They will help expand Qobuz’s presence more globally and lead our world-class streaming and download platform for music lovers and audiophiles. I look forward to the energy and expertise each new hire will bring as we continue to support new talent, local artists, and stand up for high-quality sound and music culture.”
Q&A with Ritch Sibthorpe, Managing Director, Qobuz UK & Ireland, Nordics, Australia & New Zealand
- Is this a new position? Can you tell us about the needs identified by Qobuz?
The international expansion of Qobuz is based on the belief that connecting with music fans, artists, communities and cultures at a local level is critical. The role was created to help ensure Qobuz is best able to do that in the region.
- What attracted you to the role and the brand?
The passion of the Qobuz team and its undiluted focus on the art of music means it can deliver the closest possible digital experience to spending time in your local neighbourhood record store. For discerning music fans, specialist curation offers deep exploration away from the mainstream. Add the world’s largest, bit-perfect hi-res audio catalogue and it’s a unique proposition. Ultimately, enabling more choice for artists and fans alike can only be a good thing in my experience.
- What are your top priorities for the business in your capacity as the new Managing Director?
My top three priorities are, firstly, to help grow and serve the Qobuz community of discerning music fans. Secondly, to ensure Qobuz continues to offer expert, specialist music editorial and curation that reflects local music cultures and, thirdly, to foster collaboration with like-minded regional partners.
- How would you explain the benefits of listening to hi-res audio via Qobuz to a music fan who is unfamiliar with the platform?
Qobuz caters to discerning music fans, who demand many different things. Some want to listen to music in the best quality available, without compromise. To deliver that, we provide music files subjected to the least processing possible, delivering a bit-perfect audio experience that truly reflects the artist and producer’s original work. Every cymbal crash rings true, vocals retain their humanity and each instrument is able to breathe in the mix given the purity of sound on offer. Qobuz will never compromise on the quality of audio we provide because our users can hear the difference.
But we also believe in the power of expert music curation and great music journalism. Which is why we invest in original, long-form editorial telling the stories behind great artists, albums, songs and labels.
- What is the short to long-term strategy for Qobuz?
I’ve only just joined the Qobuz team so it would be premature to detail our longer-term strategy, but I can say that putting important artists and discerning music fans at the heart of everything we do will remain at the core of our vision.
- How important is it to artists that they feel their work is being heard in the way it was intended?
Every artist is different, of course, but in our experience most artists are passionate about ensuring their music reaches listeners in the best possible quality.
- With other services announcing their own hi-res/lossless tiers, what is Qobuz’s response and how does it compete with that?
Our focus is on ensuring we offer the best possible experience for Qobuz users and we’re confident we’ll continue to do that. Qobuz will always provide the highest possible audio quality, but that is just one element of our promise to ensure discerning music fans have a home that goes beyond mainstream music and chart hits alone.
- Now that spatial audio is available on other platforms, will it be made available to Qobuz users?
Only a tiny component – far less than 1% – of the world’s music has so far been produced in simulated spatial audio mixes so our current focus remains on delivering the highest quality stereo experience available. However, we are constantly engaged with our global community of music fans and will ensure we deliver music in the formats they desire if, and when, experimental audio innovations gain traction.
Founded in 2007, a pioneer of high-quality sound, Qobuz is the French music streaming and download service that meets the needs of demanding music lovers and audiophiles. Available in 18 countries around the world, in Europe, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Qobuz offers an exceptional range of exclusive editorial content written by a team of experts. With its catalog of more than 70 million tracks, Qobuz also has the richest choice of high-resolution (hi-res) references on the market. Qobuz is the only multi-genre platform to achieve Hi-Res certification – a label awarded by the Japan Audio Society (JAS). For more information, visit: www.qobuz.com.
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