The idea of full-resolution FLAC downloads (as opposed to low-grade lossy typical downloads) is
good, and the offerings are steadily expanding:
But, right now, the business model is dumb due to obviously too-high pricing.
Both Chesky and DGG (and Linn for that matter) charge what amounts to street prices for CD's for
their FLAC downloads, and Chesky charges a premium above that for the 96/24 downloads.
Why would anyone buy what amounts to a CD without the booklet and physical item when ripping CD's
losslessly is now so easy (via numerous FLAC front-ends or as Apple Lossless Format in iTunes)?
Of course this is different in the case of material that is out of print, as some of the material on
Chesky's site and I think a few of the DGG items are. But the vast majority of these lossless
download titles are readily available on Amazon, in many cases for less than the $12.99 (DGG)
download price and often at the same $9.99 download price from Chesky. Use third party "new and
used" sellers on Amazon and the price can often drop below the download price, for a real-deal CD
with a real-deal booklet that you can then rip into any format you like.
So, good idea but not likely to get "critical mass" beyond a niche unless prices drop so it's
compellingly cheaper to buy the lossless download than a physical CD. The crowd that cares enough
about audio quality to want a lossless download still cares about CD's. Only foolish kids pay $1 per
tune for lossy-garbage downloads.
-- Tom Fine