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Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 28, 2015
French download site and lossless streaming service Qobuz recently published "A letter from the Qobuz team to its subscribers and users". Fist off, I am very happy to see Qobuz working their way through some difficult financial times (see report) as I enjoy their site and services. While there is no mention of expanding their lossless streaming into other markets, they do talk about redesigning their website to focus more on streaming and less on downloads. A sign of the times?

Here's an interesting and oddly relevant quote from their letter which I didn't see until after I posted "Is High Resolution Audio Elitist?:

Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 17, 2014
From the press release:
The announcement of the first live concert recording in DSD follows an agreement between Acoustic Sounds and Warner Music Group (WMG) to provide the company’s digital download music service with more than 1,200 high-resolution, mainstream albums by some of the most dynamic names in music.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 04, 2013
From the Acoustic Sounds announcement:
Acoustic Sounds Inc. of Salina, Kan., the worldwide leader in audiophile recordings, signed an agreement today with Sony Music Entertainment Inc. to provide the company’s new digital download service with albums that have been produced or remastered in Direct Stream Digital (DSD), the highest resolution audio technology available.

The deal, which follows an earlier agreement reached with Universal Music Group, includes hundreds of recordings from Sony Music’s vast catalog. All of these recordings will be licensed to Acoustic Sounds’ SuperHighRez.com, the first high-resolution music service to offer mainstream albums in DSD.

Yeowza!
Michael Lavorgna  |  Aug 28, 2013
Online music and gear retailer Acoustic Sounds will begin offering DSD downloads...today! Wednesday, August 28th! That's right, here's the first source for popular titles from artists like John Coltrane, Muddy Waters, and Cat Stevens in lovely resplendent DSD. Kinda makes you glad you have that DSD-ready DAC. You do have one, right?
Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 29, 2012
Thanks to reader Mr. T for pointing us to an article on MacRumors which points to an article in The Guardian that suggests Apple is working on adaptive streaming technology to provide iCloud users with high definition music as long as they have the bandwidth and hardware to handle it.
A source with inside knowledge of the process says Apple has asked a London studio to prepare audio files for a new streaming format that will adapt to bandwidth or hardware capabilities.

"All of a sudden, all your audio from iTunes is in HD rather than AAC. Users wouldn't have to touch a thing – their library will improve in an instant," said the source, who requested to remain anonymous.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Sep 02, 2014
Nielsen SoundScan's weekly album sales numbers dipped below the 4M mark for the first time since they started tracking this number in 1991. As reported by Billboard, "This year, overall U.S. album sales are down 14.6 percent, while digital album sales are down 11.7 percent and track sales are down 12.8 percent." All the while streaming is up, up, up.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 04, 2013
Thanks to Charles Hansen for the heads up on this news—AlpineSoft has added DoP (DSD over PCM) functionality to their VinylStudio vinyl ripping software (v8.6). Now you can rip your records to DSD (or PCM up to 32/384 if you prefer) on the cheap as long as you have a DSD-capable analog-to-digital converter (the Ayre QA-9 and the PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter happen to be two such ADCs).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 04, 2013
Thanks to friend and colleague Stephen Mejias of Stereophile for forwarding this interesting news, of the good news/bad news variety:
In January of this year Amazon introduced AutoRip, which gives customers free digital versions of CDs they purchase. Today we're excited to announce that we're extending AutoRip to vinyl records. Now when you buy any AutoRip vinyl record, the MP3 version of that album will instantly be delivered to your Amazon Cloud Player library for FREE. You can then download or listen to the music on your Android phone, iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, PC, Mac, Kindle Fire, and more even before your vinyl record arrives.
 |  Jun 12, 2014
Today, Amazon launched its Prime Music lossy streaming service. All Amazon Prime members (requires $99 annual subscription fee) now have free access to "over 1 million songs" through the Prime Music web-based app or the Prime Music iOS/Android app. We are Amazon Prime members so I took PM for a quick spin by loading an album into "my library". Once I did this, my library was automatically populated with all of the music I've purchased from Amazon that is part of their AutoRip service. In our case, that meant I had about 200 songs in my library from the get go without having to actually do anything. Nice.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 07, 2016
Bandcamp's recent good news about their continued success planted a question in my mind; Since Bandcamp charges the same price for lossy and lossless downloads, I wonder how many people still buy the lossy version? So I asked Bandcamp and they answered.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 14, 2012
This just in from an Antelope Audio Press Release:
Santa Monica, February 14, 2012 — Antelope Audio’s Zodiac D/A converters are now compatible with iPad, allowing music lovers to enjoy pristine audio of up to 384 kHz [OS X only], played and controlled from their iPad through the Zodiac DAC.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 24, 2012
According to AppleInsider, Apple is working on implementing the as yet to be finalized 802.11ac "Gigabit WiFi" standard (about three times as fast as 802.11n) in "new AirPort base stations, Time Capsule, Apple TV, notebooks and potentially its mobile devices" by the 2nd half of this year. Do you think this expanded bandwidth capability will finally usher in 24-bit file streaming over Apple AirPort networks? Did I hear someone say, gulp!
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 28, 2014
It's official. Apple is buying Beats for $3 billion. From an article in the NY Times, "The Beats brand will remain separate from Apple’s, and Apple will offer both Beats’s streaming music service and premium headphones." Initial reports (see ours) had Beats priced at 3.2 billion so someone took a haircut but at these prices how painful could that really be. We'll also be keeping an eye on the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 2 for the announcement of Apple's rumored move to 24-bit downloads. We shall see (soon!).
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 09, 2014
The Financial Times has reported that Apple is in talks to buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion as early as next week (see report). As the article points out:
One motivation for the Beats deal may lie in shifts in music consumption. Subscription services are the biggest growth area for the music industry, with revenues increasing 50 per cent to $1.1bn in 2013, according to a recent report by the IFPI, the global music industry association.

But downloads fell 2 per cent to $3.93bn – the first annual decline since Apple launched its iTunes store in 2003. iTunes is still the world’s largest music download service.

How big is this potential deal? Let's look at some numbers.

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