One of the best panels I attended at the Music Matters conference in Singapore last week had to do with the music industry’s push for public acceptance of Hi-Res Audio, digital music files that sound as good as (and in many cases, better) than the best-recorded compact discs.
“Wait,” you say. “What’s the point? I’ve got my MP3s and my streaming music service. Everything sounds good enough. Why should I care?”
Well, you might not care until you actually hear some music in Hi-Res Audio. It can sound immeasurably, indescribably better. By allowing you to hear the most subtle and finest details of the recording the experience of listening is so much better, which leads to a greater emotional connection with what you’re hearing. Trust me on this.
There is a concerted push within the music industry as those concerned with hardware (the gear and gadgets) and the software (the music itself) tries to get these digital files in front of consumers. There are several reasons for this.
- They want us to buy new hardware. Gotta maintain the forced upgrade death march, right?
- Re-releasing old material as Hi-Res creates new master recordings, which extends copyright for at least another fifty years. Sneaky, huh?
- There seems to be a growing demand by music fans for better-sounding audio. They threw out all kinds of statistics about how fans (especially those over 25) say they would be willing to pay a little more for higher quality audio.
It’s that last point I’m interested in. Would you be willing to pay a little bit more for music that sounded better? Why or why not? Let me know and I could end up quoting you on tomorrow’s 6pm radio show.