Home Your iTunes Music May Soon Sound A Whole Lot (24-Bit) Better

Your iTunes Music May Soon Sound A Whole Lot (24-Bit) Better

Music aficionados know: there’s a trade-off that comes with the move to digital music. Sure, you can house your entire record collection on your computer. You can fit thousands of songs on your mobile phone. But if you’re downloading your mp3s from an online store like iTunes, you’re often getting a file with poorer sound quality.

But a report from CNN suggests that Apple is working to improve the quality of its music downloads.

Generally, studio recordings are captured in a 24-bit, high-fidelity format. But these are often downgraded to 16-bit files when pressed into CDs or distributed to digital retailers. From there, the files are compressed even further, so as to minimize the amount of time it takes for you to download the record or stream it over the Internet.

But as digital music is quickly becoming the norm, efforts are underway to improve its sound quality – or at least give retailers some options of working from the higher grade 24-bit files. CNN reports that talks are underway between the music studios and Apple to do just that. It’s not the first time that Apple has made these efforts, as back in 2009, it doubled the bit-rate of its tracks.

Of course, better quality, higher bit-rate files are just part of the solution here. Many devices don’t support 24-bit files. “Paul McCartney can master The Beatles albums all he wants, (but) when you play them through a Dell computer, it sounds like you’re playing them through a portable television,” says music executive Jimmy Iovine.

The desire for a better quality music is evident in Radiohead’s release of its latest album, which allows fans to pay a little extra for uncompressed files. But as ReadWriteWeb editor Richard MacManus laments, that takes “so damn long to download!”

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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