As anyone trolling through our (growing) list of music download sites and stores knows, there are plenty of independents and specialists offering 24bit high-res. music downloads. However, the artists featured are not usually well known names and finding the Stones or the Beatles, or virtually any of the recorded music available in iTunes or Amazon store as lossless files at any bit rate is next to imposable, if you want to stay the right side of legal.
So up comes Mr Lovine (Chairman UMG, on left in picture) and says that Universal Music Group (UMG) is moving to a 24bit standard across their music catalogue - this has to be the tipping point we are all waiting for - UMG offering their music catalogue world wide at 24bit will completely change the music buying landscape for ever and the great populous, unaware of the superb music quality achievable at home with studio quality downloads will suddenly be marketed this 'revolutionary' new quality standard - and we will all be happy.
Add iTunes deciding to actually offer 24bit downloads and this will truly be the catalyst to High-Res. taking over from lossy MP3's and everyone will be able to hear music as the artists and music producers intended, not a lifeless approximation (MP3's are fine for ear buds and the car, but seldom for the home on a half decent stereo system). This is the future - and it looks like its just around the corner.
BUT - and its a big but. All those analogue tapes and early 16bit masters - how are they going to be digitalised? Will we really get 24bit, or will they be badly up-sampled 16bit and we are fobbed off with inferior downloads sounding no better than CD's or worse?
The new digital high-res. download industry needs policing, to ensure we are not ripped off (its quite well known that some downloads offered by existing stores are not what they claim to be) and that's something DreamStreaming will be actively pushing for - or even starting? Perhaps the best way to police this industry is through 'people power', us the consumers reporting bad quality here on the DreamStreaming site, exposing the rip-off merchants trying to sell us expensive but rubbish downloads? We are thinking hard about this and if you have any views, let us know.