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Blog // Sounds
October 13, 2013

High Fidelity Pure Audio (Blue-Ray)

Today I saw some of the new High Fidelity Pure Audio discs on sale here in Tokyo. This is a new format, being pushed by Universal Music, which aims to sell high quality audio via the existing Blue-Ray platform. The music is encoded at 96KHz 24bit, which is a substantial improvement over CD 44.1Khz 16 […]

High Fidelity Pure Audio in Tokyo

Today I saw some of the new High Fidelity Pure Audio discs on sale here in Tokyo. This is a new format, being pushed by Universal Music, which aims to sell high quality audio via the existing Blue-Ray platform. The music is encoded at 96KHz 24bit, which is a substantial improvement over CD 44.1Khz 16 bit encoding and of course, the atrocious MP3 formats.

The audiophile in me wants to applaud this move. I firmly believe better quality audio helps the emotional experience of listening to music (up to a point) and the emotional experience of listening to music is not just good for the music business, it’s good for the human soul.

But, I’m not convinced consumers will want to pay for another physical format again.

Consider one of the discs on sale, Legend, by Bob Marley. This best of album has been a spectacular commercial success for Universal Music over the years. I first got into Bob Marley thanks to a South African friend who made me a mix tape, which included some of the famous singer’s songs. When Legend came out I bought the vinyl (yes I’m that old). Some years later, I bought the CD. Now Universal Music expect me to buy the album again in another format?

It’s an understandable ruse – this is how the major labels made much of their profit during the heyday of CD, from consumers re-buying much of their existing vinyl and cassette collection in a new format.

And, if we were to pay again, why do it for a physical format? Apple’s Mastered for iTunes programme is the strongest hint yet that high quality downloadable music (in the same 96KHz 24bit quality as High Fidelity Pure Audio) is just around the corner.

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