Feeds

Lossless music goes High Street

Quality downloads for the masses

Top three mobile application threats

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) ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.