Remember Napster and MP3s? They were all the rage back in the day; the days pre-iPod and iTunes, the days when you could Mix. Rip. And not bother to Burn, but instead, share your music collection with others who would share their collection with you.
Steve Jobs was right. Affordable music trumps stolen music. Here we are nearly two decades later and the music industry pushes new boundaries and delivers new ways to get me to pay for The Beatle’s White Album yet again.
We’ve reached the era of diminishing returns. Lossless streaming music is here. Do you know who cares?
Not me. Why not? I mean, after all, we have plenty of bandwidth to stream larger music files, right? We have better headphones, right? We have subscription services, right? Who doesn’t like a catalog of 50-million songs?
My grandparents had 78-rpm records. My parents had 33 1/3 albums. Then along came 45s, 8-track tapes, cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, and streaming music. Remastered tracks made the oldies sound good. But along the way of progress I paid for the music I grew up with again, and again, and again, and, well, you get the idea.
Amazon wants me to pay for my music yet again, this time with Amazon Music HD. Think higher quality music. Think lossless. Compressed music is poorer quality. Lossless is HD. Ultra HD is like ten times the quality of SD; standard definition (lossy compressed at up to 320-kbps).
Ten times? Yep. Up to 3,750 kbps. Call it HD. Call it Hi-Res. Call it Ultra HD. But whatever you call it you’ll pay for all that music. Again.
Amazon has gone back in time to bring the past forward. Goodbye, MP3. Goodbye, lossy CDs and DVDs, and Apple Music and Spotify. Hello HD. Hello, another monthly price tag.
There’s just one problem with Amazon’s new Music HD plan. OK, maybe more than one problem. First, I’m tired of paying ever more for music I’ve already paid for half a dozen times. Second, I’ve tried out some Ultra HD-like lossless music with what I have collected on iTunes and what comes down from Apple Music, and the main problem is that I cannot tell the difference in the music quality.
The difference between Napster, MP3s, SD, and High Definition HD is far less than Amazon’s Ultra HD except in one basic point.
They all sound about the same. I am convinced that the only people who care about Lossless music and the likes of Amazon’s new Ultra HD streaming service are techies who must have the latest and greatest, audiophiles who think they can tell the difference between HD and Ultra HD, and the music industry who wants us to pony up again for what we’ve bought already.
Almost nobody cares about lossless music except those with a financial interest in this latest version of diminishing returns.