For the past couple of years I've been obsessed with updating the sound quality of my music library. Between albums I ripped over 10 years ago and the one's I've ripped now, there's a noticeable difference when the iPod's on shuffle in my car. Steve Jobs cares about my predicament and wants to make amends.
According to CNN, Apple and other online music stores are in talks with the record labels to sell "premium" quality tracks closer to the original recordings,"What we're trying to do here is fix the degradation of music that the digital revolution has caused," chairman of Universal Music Group's Interscope-Geffen-A&M Jimmy Iovine said at an HP news conference. "It's one thing to have music stolen through the ease of digital processing. But it's another thing to destroy the quality of it. And that's what's happening on a massive scale."
Compared to the quality of streaming music, 16-bit compressed files available from digital music retailers are much better, but the come nowhere near the quality of the recordings you hear on a CD or vinyl.
The disparity in sound quality between mp3's and physical media has been known for years though. Why the big fuss about restoring lost sound quality to music fans now?
The problem is while Apple computers and iTunes can handle tracks with the 24-bit sound, most portable electronic devices, including current iPods and iPhones, can't handle the higher quality audio files. Apple would have to revamp their next generations of MP3 players - and customers would have to buy the new products if they want improved sound.
<a href="http://mashable.com/2011/01/18/ipod-touch-sales/">iPod sales have leveled off</a> over the past few years.