January 28, 2008

Refining the Business Model [8:03 am]

I’m not sure where Bray gets his technical information (CDs are WAV, rather than PCM, data?), but the issue of sound quality as new formats are introduced is one that is as old as the audiophile community: More music dealers offering downloads with sound quality that rivals a CD’spdf

Internet music retailers offer millions of tunes, in every genre from opera to hip-hop to Palestinian folk songs. But it’s still hard to find online music that sounds good on a $10,000 stereo system.

Online music sellers like Apple Inc. and Amazon.com use digital compression technologies to shrink the sizes of music files, making them easier to store and download. But compression also hollows out the music, eliminating many of the sonic subtleties cherished by hardcore audiophiles. That’s why many finicky music lovers won’t sully their ears with today’s downloadable tunes and are clamoring for something better.

[...] A handful of online music dealers, including Magnatune, MusicGiants Inc., and AIX Media Group Inc., are responding with audio downloads that match, and in some cases exceed, the quality of standard CDs.

“If you’re going to ask people to move from CDs to downloads, I think you have to have something that’s just as compelling,” said Magnatune’s founder, John Buckman.

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