Technology analysis of the latest gadgets, consoles, and computer architectures.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Wanna know what's been in my mind periodically, and basically brought out the urge to create this? Online Music Stores. Sorry, I know it's a boring topic by now, but I just want to say something about them. First of all, peer-to-peer file sharing does not necessarily take away from any potential album sales. Most of the people who downloaded mp3s were not going to purchase the albums anyways because the money wasn't around to do so. I suppose once services like the original Napster became popular it may have cut into a minimal amount of sales, but before the mp3 revolution, most people would either make a cassette, cd, or mp3 copy of the songs they wanted anyways...aka "Fair Use".

Anyways, online music stores will only make a small appeal to people who do not buy albums often; instead of focusing on these limited sales, these music stores should be trying to gain some of the diehard audience. Making consumers pay for compressed inferior audio is wrong! The next generation medium, also known as the Internet, should not be an excuse to sell subpar quality music, even if it is "CD quality". I would understand this being a download option for slow connections, but lossless compression is the way to go. Audio quality should be getting better as technology progresses, and I refuse to sink a lot of money into something that is inferior to CD audio. (I will admit: I have paid for emusic a couple of times, but $10 for 40 songs is a bit different, and it's 224 kbps average LAME VBR.) I will continue to purchase CD albums online and at real music stores until something reasonable is available.

On a side note, it would also be cool if the music stores distributed the CD cover and album art and booklets in PDF.

Considering that Real Networks is going downhill (in one way or another), lossless is something they should embrace to take the market away from Apple and Microsoft allies. The current Real Networks online music store (not Rhapsody) offers 192 kbit AAC, which is nice, but not quite there yet.

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