• Lossless iTunes Store?

    CNET's Nate Lanxon published a piece today predicting Apple will offer lossless music downloads from the iTunes store within twelve months. Personally I think this is wishful thinking. Sure there are valid reasons why Apple would do this such as to fill up more disk space thus selling more iPods. But, I really disagree with Nate when he says, "...iTunes and the iPod is not only perfectly geared up for lossless downloads, but it has the most powerful industry shaker-upper behind it, and a heap of potential new customers gagging to hand over their cash..." Depending on what he is claiming Steve Jobs is behind, either iPod/iTunes or lossless downloads, is a big difference. I have yet to hear Steve Jobs even mention lossless downloads in a serious conversation. Perhaps my biggest disagreement is the last part of the statement about a heap of potential customers. It is pretty clear that audiophiles are a small percentage of the music buying population. Even a smaller percentage of these audiophiles would download from iTunes if/when lossless music is available. Sure "heap" is a very subjective term to describe a quantity, but I don't believe this article would exist without "heap" equating to a sizable percentage of music buyers. I really wish this would happen and I could download lossless music from my listening chair, but I'll believe it when I see it. Here is a snippet of the article available on cnet.co.uk.
    Tuesday 18 December 2007

    Next for Apple: Lossless iTunes Store

    They say once you've had FLAC, you don't go back. It was certainly true for me. And now I have an inkling Apple will add lossless music downloads to the iTunes Store within the next 12 months.

    Apple adopted AAC as its standard music download format, not only because the creator of MP3 has named it the superior successor to its creation, but because it also allows for the embedding of DRM -- the ubiquitously despised method for preventing unauthorised copying. But there's another reason.


    Get the full story here.
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Lord Chaos's Avatar
      Lord Chaos -
      For a long time I've told myself that I'd love to see lossless downloads. It'd be nice to get away from stacking CDs in boxes after I buy and rip them.<br />
      <br />
      There are some questions, though:<br />
      1. Would the lossless files be crippled with Digital Rights Management nonsense?<br />
      2. Would they be of music I want to hear? I'm not looking for the latest Daughtry release.<br />
      <br />
      Then I have to consider my buying practices. In the old days I'd wander into a CD store and try listening to a few, but the ambient noise made this problematic. I tried a CD review magazine and got more misses than hits. Then I started buying used. A half-price failure doesn't hurt so much, and I did get some gems.<br />
      <br />
      Amazon came along and revolutionized the whole thing. I now check the reviews for any music I'm interested in, and my failure rate is much lower. Granted, I'm kind of connecting myself to a mass-marketish concept, but if it's music I'm on the fence about the reveiws will help me make up my mind. One does need to learn to read reviews, and use some judgment and comparison, but it works well for me and I've found a lot of gems this way.<br />
      <br />
      So... if lossless files come to the Itunes store, what will I have to give up to get them? Reviews? Freedom to use the music as I desire? Go back to the old days of buying without a clue?
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Unfortunately nobody has the answers yet! With DRM I wouldn't download much lossless content. I have been surprised at the selection on iTunes so far. They do have stuff I can't find locally, but iTunes doesn't compare to something like Amazon as far as selection goes.<br />
      <br />
      I don't think you would have to give up reviews, maybe I'm not following you on that one.<br />
      <br />
      One thing that will never be replaced is the experience of the local record shop. Smelling the vinyl and looking at all the special edition packaging and releases for CDs that you just can't get a feel for browsing online.<br />
      <br />
      - Chris<br />
      Computer Audiophile | Turn Down The Silence
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      I'm trying out KUT right now.<br />
      - Chris<br />
      Computer Audiophile | Turn Down The Silence
    1. markr's Avatar
      markr -
      The old ways are sometimes the better ways - within limits. I too remember the ambiance of the record store: The sound proof rooms with turntable awaiting the shopper's touch...... priceless. <br />
      <br />
      Amazon did truly revolutionize the quantity of the selection of titles at the expense of that sound-proof room - though in many cases you can at least preview that material online. However, I would have to say that most of my music purchases in life have been done after I already knew what I wanted to buy. Radio always has helped me with that. It was just a wonderful bonus that when I finally had my own copy of that 'magical sound' I had heard in hand, that the audio quality was usually much better than when I first heard it coming through the radio.<br />
      <br />
      Online and printed reviews are what is available now for the most part. Formulaic radio programming has 'screwed' the listening public in many ways. Though if you are lucky enough to have a great local radio station or diligently use the internet creatively by sifting through those streaming stations' content<br />
      <br />
      **ignoring audio quality (usually) for the sake of 'discovery'**, <br />
      <br />
      I believe one can keep oneself in enough great material to stay satisfied! <br />
      <br />
      There is no question that DRM has no place in HQ audio or any other kind of audio IMO. I won't have it. Except in the most unusual (read: desperate) instances.<br />
      <br />
      I am truly excited in anticipation of the possibilities of what could be, and already are beginning to be available to us via HQ d/l's. This availability and increase in SELECTION is really up to the buying public: US. - TELL the purveyors of this new 'magic' what you want, and then pay for it!<br />
      <br />
      markr<br />
      "There are only two kinds of people: Those who understand binary and those who don't"<br />
      <strong>hear here: KUT.org - Tonight - 'TWINE TIME' 7-11 pm CST - Try it </strong>