Feeds

Lossless music goes High Street

Quality downloads for the masses

Security for virtualized datacentres

British digital download store 7Digital is expanding the range of lossless music available for download. Albums will now be available in the industry standard FLAC format from artists such as Radiohead and Enya - in some cases cheaper than the MP3 equivalent.

Both 24-bit and 16-bit versions will be available; FLAC is a container format, and can handle both. 7Digital's prices start at £9.99.

Currently lossless formats aren't available from any of what you might call high street digital download stores. Both Apple, the leading download site, and Amazon only sell music in compressed lossy formats.

Yet dozens of specialist sites cater to music lovers, as do many small indie labels, and have done for years. Veteran electronic music sites Bleep and Beatport both launched in 2004. The former offers FLAC and the latter WAV and FLAC formats to DJs and dance music fans. Linn Records caters to jazz and classical fans with music from over a dozen labels.

Two more US-only stores, iTrax and HDTracks, specialise in high quality digital downloads. At iTrax there's an informative article explaining why HD digital formats often disappoint: because of filters applied during the "upmastering" process, the result loses audio fidelity.

In a statement 7Digital founder Ben Drury said, "Internet connected music devices that provide a ‘better-than-CD’ quality sound are becoming commonplace in the home. These devices rely on higher quality digital music downloads to provide superior quality music playback, and appeal to a broader base of consumers beyond the average audiophile."

Yet FLAC remains an industry standard without big industry support. Neither Windows 7's Media Player nor Apple's Mac OS X iTunes support FLAC playback - in each case, you need a plug-in. Microsoft prefers the lossless version of WMA format. Perhaps this can change - but it requires people voting with their wallets.

Here's a radical idea: why can't the industry sell lossless music and include a physical backup with it? The two could be bundled together.

The whole package could come with a nice booklet written by a proper writer who tells you interesting things about the artist or their music, and include decent shots from a professional photographer. Perhaps it could include lyrics or a music score or even some original artwork. The artwork could be enjoyed in its own right - and even help enhance the artist's brand.

Sounds too good to be true. I doubt it will ever happen. (That's enough sarcasm - Ed) ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.