• 24 Bit iTunes Downloads Coming Soon?

    It's not often that rumors make the front page of Computer Audiophile, but this one is too big to ignore. I awoke this morning to an inbox full of links to articles talking about improved sound quality from the iTunes Store. Disbelief was my first reaction. After reading a couple of the articles I believe this is going to happen and I couldn't be more excited. It looks like Apple will offer 24 bit downloads through the iTunes Store for a premium price. There is no speculation as to the sample rate (44.1, 48, 88.2, 96 kHz) of the future downloads. In the articles discussing the new developments are a couple quotes from Dr. Dre. One quote that I really like has Dr. Dre saying people should hear the music the way he does. CA Readers who watched the Grammy Awards will recognize this phrase from the HP tablet commercials with Alicia Keys echoing the same "Hear it like I do" phrase. Better sound quality and hearing music like the artists hear it is a wonderful thing.

    I know some CA readers are already skeptical of whether this will actually happen and if the downloads could be up to their standards. That's OK and likely warranted given past events and Apple considering 256 kbps lossy files equivalent to CD quality. Right now I'm very optimistic and would be happy for a Redbook start to this better sound quality "movement" by Apple. Even if the idea of better quality downloads has nothing to do with the actual music it's still a new income stream for all involved. Apple will need to upgrade its iPods to support higher quality and likely larger hard drives to hold the larger file sizes. The record labels will also profit from selling the same music in a new format like they've done over the decades with LP, 8-Track, Cassette, and CD. It's a business model with which they are familiar.

    The astute Computer Audiophile readers have already started a thread about this development in the forum. I will close off comments to this front page article and link to the forum thread for continued discussion. Also, here is a link to a CNN article discussing the higher quality downloads.

    CNN Link -> Apple in talks to improve sound quality of music downloadslink

    CA Forum Link -> iTunes Audiophile Downloads