You want some good news? The great classical music label Deutsche Grammophon appears to have put a very nice download store online.
• First, their store is international. You can buy from anywhere in the planet with no stupid geographic limits.
• Second, they are not only publishing their current massive catalog, but reviving out-of-print recording as exclusive downloads. A hundred of them are available now and a thousand will be in the next weeks after launch.
• And finally, the music is all DRM-free (YES!) so it can play in the iPod, Zune or preferred MP3-compatible player.
Prices are $1.29 for a full track (that’s lots of music in the classical music world) to $11.99 for an album, which often come with PDF booklets covering the materials, like actual CD editions do. Unfortunately for classical music maniacs, the tracks encoded in MP3 format. Fortunately, they come beautifully encoded at 320kbps, so most people except Pear-cable buyers won’t be able to tell the difference.
Trust me, 320kbps encoded mp3s sound great. I would say ninetyfive out of a hundred listeners will not be able to tell the difference between that and an AIFF/WAV or FLAC file. Hm, maybe 98/100.
I checked out the DGG store and bought the Kite Runner soundtrack as I am a fan of Alberto Iglesias’ music. The buying process is painless and am now downloading a zipped folder containing the mp3 files.
In other music news:
Warner Music Profits Are Down
Warner Music actually did take a hard beating this past quarter, losing almost $7 million in profit versus last year’s—more than half, for a take of $5 million. While profits were down, digital sales shot up 25 percent to pull in $130 million, though that didn’t particularly mollify the industry-wide 14 percent plunge in CD sales this year.
EMI to Slash RIAA Funding
EMI, one of the “big four” record labels that feeds $132.3 million every year to trade groups such as the RIAA and IFPI, has decided that its money could be better spent elsewhere.
“Trust me, 320kbps encoded mp3s sound great. I would say ninetyfive out of a hundred listeners will not be able to tell the difference between that and an AIFF/WAV or FLAC file. Hm, maybe 98/100.”
If the encoder used is LAME with the bitrate set to 320kbps, I would imagine that no one could tell the difference.
Some anecdotal evidence for you: I did a test with eighteen friends over the recent holiday, and I found that the rate of correct identification was low enough to be pure probabilities. (i.e, “guesswork”) I don’t think that anyone in my little sample could tell the difference between the AIFF/WAV file and a LAME encoded mp3 at 320k.
I’m pretty sure this is what the Listening Lounge offers (320k /LAME) and it is as good as owning the CD. There’s no discernible difference, even on a nice system.
Regarding the “Warner Music Profits Are Down” article, at the end he mentions what he believes consumers want (No DRM and decent prices).
I can undertand no DRM for the sake of practicality for someone that purchased music. But prices? I can buy a brand new full CD release for $9.99. I remember paying $15.00 or more in the 80s. I paid as much as $19.99 for a single CD in the 90s.
Everything else consumers buy rises each year with inflation at a rate of approximately 3%.
If he is correct in his assumption that consumers believe music is over priced, then what has devalued music? Why hasn’t music risen in price with inflation like everything else?
are modern day releases of lesser quality than the 80s and 90s? Or has file sharing increased the supply of music and in essence devalued music?