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Why I want lossless music on iTunes Music Store

This is an impulse post after reading "Apple again rumored to be working on high-resolution audio".1

To be clear, I'm no audiophile. I can't tell the difference between 256kbps AAC and lossless (maybe not even the difference between 128k and 256k), and my midrange to lower midrange equipments probably won't let me tell anyway. I'm certainly not a consumer of snake oil.

However, I still prefer to get everything in lossless, simply because "good enough" today is almost never good enough tomorrow. Fifty years later I'm most likely still wandering this planet, I and my music collection. I would be extremely regretful if I didn't archive the highest quality versions of my favorite tracks today, only to find them inferior-sounding fifty years later, which is a pretty realistic possibility given how fast technology advances.2 Even today's lossless could be inferior-sounding in the future, but there would be no regret.

To be extra clear, I'm talking about lossless for archival purposes, so what I want to see is a lossless download option in ITMS.3 Streaming can be done in whatever good enough® sampling frequency and bitrate that's currently in use, since it's a one-off thing with no effects on tomorrow (and I don't give a shit about streaming and subscription anyway). Offering lossless downloads likely won't put much burden on Apple's infrastructure, since they already deliver much more bandwidth-demanding movies on the same channel. Moreover, albums on ITMS aren't much cheaper than physical CDs, while the cost is apparently lower than CD production, the audience apparently wider, and the chances of impulse purchases (especially of single tracks) much higher, so I would suppose such a move (delivering lossless on ITMS) won't considerably hurt record labels' profits either. After all, if they don't make it easy for consumers, many consumers will just pirate — it's way too easy to pirate music.

  1. And I did see the MacRumors article a week ago. I even registered a MacRumors account, which I never bothered to do, just to comment on that article... It just didn't occur to me to write a blog post at that time.↩︎

  2. You might be skeptical of my hearing when I'm in my seventies... But I could well be showing my favorites to someone with perfect hearing, say my grandchildren.↩︎

  3. I know there are many online music stores that sell lossless music, but ITMS has the largest catalog in the world, and for many titles I care about, ITMS is still the only place in this country where I can make legal digital purchases.↩︎