Music in Apple Lossless format coming to iTunes Music Store? | iLounge News

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Music in Apple Lossless format coming to iTunes Music Store?

An updated version of Apple’s music encoding software for record labels suggests that the iTunes Music Store could soon offer tracks in the Apple Lossless format. According to an AppleInsider report, a note accompanying the iTunes Producer 1.4 update released this week said the application “now encodes music in Apple Lossless format, which produces larger audio files and will increase upload time.” The Apple Lossless format, which the company says offers CD-quality sound in “about half the storage space,” has been supported in iTunes since version 4.5. iTunes Producer is provided to record labels for encoding and submitting their music for inclusion on the iTunes Music Store. Songs sold on iTunes are currently only available in the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) format.

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Comments

1

When I read this, 2 things came to mind:
1) I hope they don’t offer the higher quality audio at a higher price.

2) I hope that they impliment on all iPods what they do on the shuffle which is the ability to squeeze music onto the player so that it’s at a lower quality only on the player (iPod).  I’d love the lossless format but that would definately eat away precious space on my 60 GB iPod and it’s maxed out already.

Posted by df57 on June 22, 2006 at 7:10 PM (CDT)

2

Good strategy to “push” people to higher capacity iPods…

or to justify the video iPod before content licensing is in place.

Do I see an 80GB iPod on the way? Maybe 100GB?

Wish Apple included FLAC support along with their ALAC (like mp3 & DRM-AAC)!

Posted by m@ on June 22, 2006 at 7:18 PM (CDT)

3

Like Brad J said, it’s insane that they charge as much as they do for the downloads when you think about how much it costs them.  In some cases the digital albums cost more than the real thing.  I got the last Red Hot Chili Peppers for $10.  The digital version which obviously cost nothing to ship or print/manufacture is going for $19.99.

I actually like iTunes and buy singles here and there when I know I’m never going to buy the album.

Well I’m looking forward to a higher capacity iPod if it comes. I’ve got 80 GB of stuff as it is.

Posted by df57 on June 22, 2006 at 7:50 PM (CDT)

4

Lossless would finally get me to purchase music from the iTMS.  I agree, Apple really needs to allow tracks to be converted “on the fly” as they trasnfer to the iPod like RealPlayer does.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on June 22, 2006 at 7:51 PM (CDT)

5

This was inevitable, and a long-time coming, in my opinion. In Australia, we pay $1.70 for a highly compressed file - no long-life CD plastic, no real and tangible artwork, no unrestricted use of the file in any CD player. The iTunes file sounds good through headphones, but play it back through a discerning audio set-up, and you will hear the difference. And I know you can rip it to CD and take it with you, but that CD, and the time it takes to rip it, and then title it, and then mock-up some half-assed cover for it; it’s all effort that the record companies used to make before selling it to us for $5 or $6. And at least that CD single had at least one other b-side to it!
They’ve been taking us for a ride since the iTunes store opened, and they will continue to bleed us when they release this new format for more money, but it still will not give us what we used to pay for: uncompressed audio on a long-life disc, with tangible artwork and at least one other track/remix.
Keep these facts in mind people. Do not invite them to fleece us any more than they already do by succumbing willingly to their hypnotic marketing strategies. The record companies want us to pay for a lesser digital file the same amount that we used to pay for a high-quality CD single. And if they can’t do that, then they want us to subscribe to monthly fees to “rent” their music (see Amazon, Urge, Napster etc). The industry is changing, and it isn’t pretty.

I’ve seen the future and it will be…

Posted by Frank Di Cosmo on June 22, 2006 at 7:54 PM (CDT)

6

I use to really object to the whole notion of renting music via services like Napster/Real.  I still wouldn’t do it but I don’t think it’s that horrible of an idea.  If you think about it, it’s cheaper than subscribing to satellite radio.  With satellite radio, you have no control over the music and have to change stations to listen to what you want.  In a way, Napster type services are basically giving you the ability to be your own radio station since you can program whatever music you want.

Like I said, it’s not for me since I like to make mix cds and just play around with the tunes but it’s not that crazy of an idea if you’re the type of person who would be willing to subscribe to satellite radio (I’m not).

Posted by df57 on June 22, 2006 at 8:03 PM (CDT)

7

Now if Apple would just improve the MP3 encoder in iTunes, we’d be in business.  Sell me lossless files which I can then encoded via LAME (with full access to presets)...that would GREATLY improve iTunes for the power user.  I could take the MP3s on the go and stream the lossless to my home stereo.


Sounds great.  Will Apple do it?  Of course not.  They’ll just offer lossless files for probably 50-100% higher price than the 128AAC files they now sell.

Posted by stark23x on June 22, 2006 at 8:23 PM (CDT)

8

im not a audiophile but the aac doesnt sound that much worse than lossless and it is smaller thus you can fit more music onto a harddrive. i have an ibook g4 and it only has 60 gb hard drive so the smaller files work better as i am already maxed out and i have to delete stuff to add stuff

Posted by killa on June 22, 2006 at 10:17 PM (CDT)

9

I’ve been waiting SOOOO long for this.  I got no problem paying higher prices so long as everything is available in ALAC, and it is clear which format you are buying. 

Enough complaining about DRM and formats.  I can’t believe people are crying already, THIS IS A POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT!

Besides, if its lossless, then a burned cd would have full audio quality, which COULD be re-ripped into whatever format you prefer.

This could be the best thing to happen to digital music since the mp3 player.

Posted by Grand Wazo on June 22, 2006 at 10:29 PM (CDT)

10

ALAC iTMS would be cool, higher prices would not. I use the iTMS for sampling what I intend to buy on CD only. ALAC content would change that for sure. If the price is right. And seriously, ยข99 is way enough for a single track.

Posted by Bad Beaver on June 23, 2006 at 2:31 AM (CDT)

11

Frank, I mostly agree with you - I don’t think that $1.70 or so is good value. Considering that the tracks are compressed we should be paying more like $0.50.

However if the lossless tracks cost the same, it might not be a bargain but considering that you don’t have to spend time ripping CDs it’s a fair enough deal.

To continue the song:

I’ve seen the future and it works… ;-)

(Love, love, love that movie)

Posted by Pikemann_Urge on June 23, 2006 at 4:45 AM (CDT)

12

Of course Apple could just be getting the lables to rip in Apple Lossless so they can transcode it to whatever format they want. That would let them offer downloads at any bitrate they wanted in the future.

Posted by ~tl on June 23, 2006 at 5:00 AM (CDT)

13

Pikemann, you’re right ... if they charge us the same. But we both know that they won’t. Why would they when they would be tripling their bandwidth costs for the same pithy return?
Apple is already having a hard time keeping the prices down with the record companies breathing down their necks. I don’t blame Apple at all for this. I am sure their margins are so low so as to be negligible. They’re making their money off the sale of the iPods and accessories, not the ITMS.

And now Apple are being sued at every turn as punishment for their innovation and success. My gripe is not with Apple at all. It’s the fatheads at the top of the Sony-BMG’s and Time-Warner’s who are to blame. The very same guys who decide what you hear on the radio. A radio playlist is not picked randomly. These companies pay to have their artists on high rotation, so that your ears become familiar with the kind of stereo that the’re trying to feed, and with that repetition comes familiarity. And familiarity = saturation = sales. How many times has your opinion of a really crap song changed over time due to over-saturation, only remembering in 5 years time bad a song that was in the first place?
There’s no such thing as pure randomness or spontaneity in a business model as engrained as the music industry’s.
But then again, I’ve bought a crap-load of songs from iTunes and probably will continue to in the future. I just hope that more people learn about the machinations behind it all before allowing themselves to be taken for another ride.

PS. Good pick up on the song!

Posted by Frank Di Cosmo on June 23, 2006 at 8:52 AM (CDT)

14

Apple should not charge more for lossless:
the tradeoff is higher quality but less capacity on the iPod (less “jukebox value”).

However, if iTunes would let you recode your lossless music to a smaller size while still keeping the lossless file, then Apple could charge more—as long as it is less than the cost of the CD.

I keep all my CD’s in FLAC format (lossless open standard) because the file container holds the metadata for database manipulation and I encode them to AAC for iTunes to be compact. To me, some music sounds the same between lossless and AAC lossy, but there are clear, obvious differences for some. I would therefore suspect other people may want to keep some music in their iTunes library in lossless format and some music in lossy format.

I would therefore like to see iTunes support:
[mp3 & AAC/AAC-DRM] & [FLAC & ALAC/ALAC-DRM]
with the ability to encode lossless to lossy on the fly.

Posted by m@ on June 23, 2006 at 11:45 AM (CDT)

15

It is funny that everyone’s mind jumps to higher prices. iTMS is the one place with consistent pricing in the world. They could care less if they sell lossless or AAC, they just collect the money and keep a piece. The record companies are the one who have to encode and upload, and they have no say on pricing. The contract that Apple has with these companies is the same as it was before the new software, the prices will be the same.

The big question is whether or not any of the companies will bother to utilize this and whether or not they will backtrack or only do new releases or only popular releases, etc. I imagine that there is a better chance of hell freezing over than much of the music I listen too being reformated into lossless, as for new releases, at least now there is hope.

There is a huge market of music consumers who do not shop with iTMS because of quality and this could suck them in, so perhaps we see a full conversion over the coming couple of years, wouldn’t that be beautiful.

Posted by divigation on June 23, 2006 at 2:02 PM (CDT)

16

They could care less if they sell lossless or AAC, they just collect the money and keep a piece. The record companies are the one who have to encode and upload, and they have no say on pricing.

And who’s servers are iTMS customers downloading from? Who’s bandwidth is that?

Posted by flatline response on June 23, 2006 at 2:37 PM (CDT)

17

Lossless for iTunes will be a big upgrade to the audio file market.  I think Apple should allow users like myself who have downloaded inxs of 500 songs to be able to re-download the lossless format free of charge, or at worst for a small upgrade premium, say $0.25.  I would definitely have buyers remorse if they don’t give me a credit for my previous purchase.

Posted by ambipod on June 23, 2006 at 9:18 PM (CDT)

18

You can certainly expect it to be more expensive. 

And unless you can easily convert your lossless files to 256 or 320 AAC (can you already?), I’m not buying them.  Lossless is TOO good and too large for my iPod use, but I don’t think 128 AAC is good enough.  I’ve got all my stuff at 256 or 320 AAC, which really is near-CD for all but the true audiophiles.

Posted by icantpod on June 26, 2006 at 9:44 AM (CDT)

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