Feeds

Lossless music goes High Street

Quality downloads for the masses

The Power of One Infographic

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) ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
Price cuts, new features coming for Office 365 small biz customers
New plans for companies with up to 300 staff to launch in fall
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.