this space intentionally left blank

March 5, 2007

Filed under: music»business»distribution


Wired's music writer asks the obvious question: if we've got increasing amounts of storage nowadays on our music devices (even the flash drives are multi-gig now, whatistheworldcomingto...), why are we still buying compressed music? Why aren't we listening to the 24-bit, high sample-rate masters that came out of the studio?

Because honestly: an 80-gig iPod full of .mp3 files will still be playing when the sun explodes and flash-fries the Earth into a crispy, carbon-based donut-hole. And yet you hear about people who are proud of this. "I've got 70,000 hours of music on my MP3 player," they'll say, and any relatively-sane listener should be asking, "Why? When will you listen to it? How much of it have you actually heard?"

And perhaps more importantly, given the length of those playlists, how much time do you spend fiddling with the scroll wheel instead of doing something productive, like digging your own grave?

My steady complaint about production trends has been the constant prioritization of "more music" over "quality of sound." It certainly started with the use of brick-wall limiting to create "loud" albums for CD and radio play, but it only got worse when digital compression started stripping frequencies out of the material, just because flash memory was small and expensive. Now that we have all of this disk space available, why can't we use it to listen to better-than-CD quality, instead of jamming it full of inferior noise?

And then people can ruin that high-quality music through a set of $3 Apple earbuds. But at least then I'll have something else to yell about.

Future - Present - Past