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ARSCLIST  January 2008

ARSCLIST January 2008

Subject:

Re: The "dumbing down" of Downloaded Recordings

From:

Frank Strauss <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 25 Jan 2008 09:43:47 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (62 lines)

On Jan 25, 2008 9:11 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I've commented extensively on this topic and I agree that low-quality
> audio distribution is a very
> large minus to the whole "evolution" away from packaged media. I think
> ARSC list postings are
> google-searchable so one could refer to past discussions on this topic. It
> would be interesting to
> see a group like ARSC take a stand on the topic but I doubt it would
> matter as long as people
> continue to pay for and not complain about inferior-quality downloads.
>
> One group I've been surprised hasn't taken a stand on this is Consumer's
> Union. It seems to me that
> they'd be all over iTunes, Amazon and others for charging $10 (the street
> price of most CD's) for an
> album's worth of very much inferior-sounding format downloads, plus no
> album art or booklet. It's a
> genuine ripoff from my perspective, but (legitimate) downloading is now a
> $2+ billion business,
> according to one report (see today's NYT). Billboard reported last issue
> that overall music sales
> were at a 25-year low last year because CD sales are down much more than
> legal downloads are up. I
> would suggest part of the problem is rampant stealing by
> morally-challenged folks (no doubt spurred
> on by Big Music's stance of treating customers as criminals -- lack of
> respect breeds contempt both
> ways), but another big part of the problem is that a sensible consumer
> likely doesn't see good value
> in a $10 crappy-sounding download album. So the answer might be sell CD
> quality downloads for $10
> per album and have album art/booklets downloadable as PDF or some other
> printable format, or to sell
> the inferior-grade downloads with no album art and booklets for much lower
> prices. Perhaps the
> typical iTunes 128kbps AAC file should be a free loss-leader item since it
> is only of marginally
> better audio quality than a free online stream from a radio station. Some
> free podcasts downloadable
> through iTunes are of higher-resolution (though not many). Finally, I
> think the biggest problem in
> the music business is lack of compelling and well-marketed product that
> sells itself.
>
> -- Tom Fine
>

Hi Tom-It would seem that much of what passes for music these days is used
on portable devices, listened to through fairly inexpensive ear bud
earphones, and played at loud volume levels.  Under those circumstances, why
go above 128 kbps?  I noticed a few years ago that one of my sons had
converted all of his cd's to mp3, and then threw out all the jewel cases,
liner notes included.  I submit that the online services are just catering
to their main audience.  I'm not sure I understand why you would download
from Apple at all. Probably it's a combination of super advertising and
convenience, since iTunes is probably the 500 lb gorilla.  Most of the folks
who post on/read this board don't download at 128, but I have suspicion we
may be in the minority.
--
Frank B Strauss, DMD

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