Apple to Sell Audio Files For Audiophiles: Why?

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Uploaded on February 26, 2011 by newsydotcom

BY: KELSEY WAANANEN
Anchor: JIM FLINK

You're watching multisource tech video news analysis from Newsy.

Apple and other music retailers are looking to cater to the high-end music audience-- by offering “professional quality” music. And right now -- many are asking - why?

Headlines read:
From ARS Technica: “iTunes may upgrade to 24-bit files, but why bother?”

And Business Insider wonders “Apple Could Sell Higher Quality Music Files, But Why Would It?”

CNN notes-- it’s because of Jimmy Iovine, a longtime music exec and owner of a business that produces high-end audio equipment.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Iovine and business partner Dr. Dre talk about their goal.

JI: “… making music sound right again because it got completely destroyed in the digital era.. that's what this is about.”
HP: “And you think you can do that with the headphones?”
JI: “You can do that with the entire ecosystem-- files, computers, the headphones, the speakers….”

And now they’re tackling the ‘file’ aspect of their plan, with Apple on board. But a guest writer for Gizmodo is outraged. He says the 24-bit audio of the recording studios...

“…should stay there. 24-bit has a really low ‘noise floor’ — that hum you hear if you turn a silent amplifier up really high. ... While that might be a problem in a studio ... it's irrelevant to the end listener who is given the fully mastered and noise-free version already... A consumer will never need 24-bit. Ever.”

And a writer for Business Insider says bit may not even play that big of a role.

“The root of the problem is compression. To get audio files down to a reasonable size, they have to be squeezed into a format like MP3 or AAC (used by iTunes). That strips out a lot of information. Audio[ph]iles argue about which of these ‘lossy’ compression formats is best, but none of them sound as good as a CD or an uncompressed file.”

While Macs and some PCs can handle the higher bit audio, the average iPod user won’t be able to benefit -- because right now devices like the iPod can’t support 24-bit audio. To top it off, ARS Technica explains the average user might not even notice the upgrade.

“While some audiophiles can discern the difference between ... compressed tracks versus an uncompressed CD source, there's evidence to suggest most listeners can't...”

Geek.com says there will be a higher price for the higher quality and that might be the deciding factor.

“I see no reason for the publishers to say no, especially if Apple is going with a higher price for the higher quality. ... as soon as one publisher signs up then the others will likely follow quickly, not wanting to miss out on the potential extra revenue.”

So what do you think? Is Apple going to be revolutionizing the industry again or is it just grabbing at niche markets?

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Tags:
Apple, Music, Mp3, Flac, Lossless, Audio, Audiophile, Recording, Artists, Newsy, News, Video, Multisource, Quality, Professional, Studio, ITunes, Lossy, News & Events
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