Electronic juggernaut, Apple, has recently reported that it’s in talks with other digital music retailers about raising the quality of downloads available to consumers. If this does happen that could mean online music stores could offer songs that sound closer to their original recordings, though most likely at a premium price.
Studio recordings are generally taken in a 24-bit, high-fidelity audio format. Before the masters are pressed onto CDs or distributed to digital retailers like Apple's iTunes, they're downgraded to 16-bit files. At that point the files can be even further compressed, depending on how large of a file a customers wants.
Jimmy Iovine, a longtime music executive and chairman of Universal Music Group's Interpol-Geffen-A&M record label recently spoke to CNN on this topic. Iovine noted improvements on the caliber of music offered by download services onstage during a two-hour HP news conference. "We've gone back now at Universal, and we're changing our pipes to 24 bit. And Apple has been great. We're working with them and other digital services -- download services -- to change to 24 bit. And some of their electronic devices are going to be changed as well. So we have a long road ahead of us."
The previous issue for Apple was that while any models of Mac computers can play 24-bit sound, most portable electronics, and many computers, don't support 24-bit audio. Apple would have to fix future versions of iPods and iPhones so they could play higher-quality files.
What do you think? Would you pay more for higher quality downloads?