High Definition iTunes Music Downloads May Be on the Horizon

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Earlier this week, a report suggested Apple was planning a "dramatic overhaul" of its iTunes Music store to combat declining music downloads, which could include an on-demand streaming music service and an Android version of iTunes.

    Apple may also be planning to add high resolution audio downloads to iTunes as part of the revamp, allowing users to download lossless 24-bit audio files. According to music blogger Robert Hutton, who cites an unspecified source, Apple is going to roll out hi-res iTunes music downloads in early June, possibly at WWDC.
    Apple has been working on offering music in a 24-bit format for several years, with a 2011 report suggesting the company was in talks with record labels to increase the quality of iTunes Music. Currently, Apple sells audio files on iTunes in 16-bit lossy AAC format encoded at 256 kbps to minimize file size.

    High-definition 24-bit downloads are said to offer better detail, greater depth, and a deeper bass response compared to traditional 16-bit music downloads, but the file sizes are much larger.

    Though Apple only offers 16-bit audio files at present, the company does encourage artists to submit music in a 24-bit 96kHz resolution, which it uses to "create more accurate encodes." Apple accepts the audio files as part of its Mastered for iTunes program, an initiative that has produced higher quality music for the iTunes Store. Because Apple has already accepted 24-bit files for years, it does, presumably, have a large catalog of high quality audio files that could be offered for sale, reportedly at a premium of $1 over traditional iTunes tracks.

    Hi-res audio has been gaining popularity in recent years, with music sites such as HDtracks securing deals with multiple major record labels. Recently, musician and song writer Neil Young launched a Kickstarter project for the PonoPlayer, a $399 digital music player designed to play high resolution audio files.

    Thus far, the project has earned over $5.7 million, suggesting there is indeed a sizable demand for hi-res audio. Should Apple choose to begin selling 24-bit audio tracks, it could quickly dominate competing sites given its existing user base and boost its digital downloads by appealing to audiophiles unhappy with the current quality of iTunes tracks.

    Thanks Phil

    Article Link: High Definition iTunes Music Downloads May Be on the Horizon
  2. macrumors 68020

    Sep 7, 2011
    So, they want to charge a PREMIUM on top of their already "premium priced" music? They're already one of the more expensive music stores.

    They should be swapping the old low bitrate music for free with the higher better quality.

    Do i have to buy all my music AGAIN? do i have to pay a premiumm upgrade fee just to get better quality of the same music?

    Sounds like a desperate money grab
  3. macrumors regular

    May 15, 2013
    we bought zeppelin on

    reel to reel
    mini disc
    sa cd
    hd dvd
    and now they want to make a new format ?! :mad:

    No Thanks!
  4. macrumors P6


    Apr 1, 2005
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    Tell that to the music labels not Apple.
  5. macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2003
    New York Citeeeeeeyyyy!
    That sounds awesome (no pun intended), but a buck above the normal price? That's harsh...
  6. macrumors 65816


    Jan 17, 2009
    I thought to really take advantage of higher fidelity, the player also needs to have a high quality chip.

    Would the iPhone/iPod's DAC be able to handle the bump in quality?
  7. macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2014
    Here's to hoping they allow upgrades to the 24bit quality via iTunes match.
  8. macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2007
    North Carolina
    No reason for it to be a new format. ALAC does 24-bit already
  9. macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2009
    SF Bay Area
  10. macrumors 601

    Jul 11, 2008
    Only a fool would by 24/192 "hi-res" files. It's placebo.
  11. macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2013
    Bonn, Germany
    finally... :)
    looking forward to that, i just hope that the price is reasonable. i'd love to pay a bit more for a HD option on iTunes Match.
  12. lars666, Apr 10, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014

    macrumors 6502a

    Jul 13, 2008

    Sorry, but 192k sampling rate is TOTAL overkill and simply a waste of space, even if you plug in your Mac/ future iPhone with 192k audio support into the best DAC/amplifier/speakers out there ...
  13. jrswizzle, Apr 10, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014

    macrumors 603


    Aug 23, 2012
    McKinney, TX
    I wonder how this affects iTunes match - which matches your music to 256 Kbps AAC even if its a lower quality to begin with.

    If they start adding higer-res versions of songs, will we see a more expensive iTunes match "premium"? I'd be up for paying more than $24.99/year to get full lossless audio tracks.

    Though I suppose that would only apply to music not purchased on iTunes because you'd only get the quality you pay for via iTunes purchases.....

    Meh, I'm starting to get irritated with owning music. Sucks too - used to have such a nice CD collection. If individual songs will cost a full $1 more now, what will that do to album prices? Double? Are we seriously going to be paying $20+ for a 10-12 song album?

    Its insane - the price difference between DVD and Blu-Ray is no where near that stark - a $5-$8 difference. I might be inclined to pay $14.99 for a higher quality album versus $9.99. But any higher and I'm out - sign me up for iTunes radio or some streaming service.

    Owning music is going the way of the birds. Oh - and really looking forward to increasing the file size of my music while we still are stuck on 16GB base storage for our iDevices....you up the quality and file size, you need to up our storage as well.
  14. chr1s60, Apr 10, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014

    macrumors 65816


    Jul 24, 2007
    So basically for the average user, Apple will be saying "Here, you can buy the old version of the song for $1.29 OR for $2.00 you can buy the exact same version that will likely sound exactly the same to you, but will have HD next to it and take up more space on your iPod."

    Essentially they are the salesman off of Family Guy.
  15. macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2010
    I"d like to see them putting stuff out there in multi-channel format. Many people listen to music over Apple TVs, and many ATVs are hooked up to surround sound systems.
  16. macrumors 601

    Jul 11, 2008
    Just the same old industry tactic that's been going on for decades. Sell them music they already purchased on a "new format". No thanks. 16-bit/256k is damn good and I can barely the difference between iTunes and the CD 5% of the time.

    This is why streaming is the feature. Negates all of this nonsense.
  17. macrumors 68020


    Nov 23, 2011
    I find that people who have spent their lives listening to music through crummy laptop speakers often say similar things.
  18. macrumors 603

    Sep 19, 2003
    I'm guessing it'll be like the 128--256 transition. Offer an upgrade fee, then later, make it the norm.
  19. macrumors 65816


    Oct 3, 2010
    North of England
    I really hope that these high-res audio files are available to us iTunes Matchers. I'd even pay another £10 a year to have access to them...
  20. macrumors 601

    Jul 11, 2008
    You'll find people with high end headphone setups like mine saying the same thing.

    See what you get for assuming what I listen through? I don't even own a laptop.

    For $2 a song, Apple is out of their mind.
  21. macrumors 6502

    Jul 6, 2011
    Looking forward to this but do I have buy all my albums and songs again? I hope not
  22. macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2004
    I don't trust the industry to deliver me useful 24/192 "hi-res' files when they can't even give me good 16/44.1 normal res files.

    On the flip side, maybe they'll stop dynamically compressing the hell out of the music for the "hi-res" files. There's not a need for 24/192 to do this (16/44.1 is plenty), but maybe it'll just come along for the ride. I know, I know, pipe dream. But sometimes dreaming is fun.

    I'd be happy with lossless 16/44.1, but properly mixed. I'd pay an extra buck per song just for that.
  23. macrumors 601


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire
    Of course the streaming is lossless and has the quality of the new format ?
  24. dannyyankou, Apr 10, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014

    macrumors 601


    Mar 2, 2012
  25. macrumors 68020

    Sep 7, 2011
    I dont really like streaming for my music to be fair, especially mobile with really expensive and low mobile data caps that we have in Canada.

    I also like owning a copy of the music in DRM free local files so that I have control over it. I can choose where and when to listen to. I put Mp3's on a memory stick for the car. Ipod Touch, or my phone.

    i'm not against streaming. it works for many things. But if I'm paying for music on an individual basis. I want to actually have a copy, thats all. Though, I still buy physical CD's to rip sometimes. But I do currently buy most of my music Digitally from iTunes.

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