MISSION LOSSLESS! Why to Upgrade your Music Library [also, “Long time, no see…”]

Greetings Musikelskere [da. music lovers]!

I will begin by acknowledging that it has been quite some time since I have shared with the website, and while a well-versed music business professor (James Doyle) of mine at ASU advised to “Never apologize for content,” I would nonetheless like to extend one for my absence. My focus of the past year has been largely based on survival. That in mind, I have recently vowed to spend more time practicing my journalism, sharing it with you fine people, and of coarse playing more music. I can only hope that YOU will be along for the ride!

Cheers, Eliot

THANK YOU, MOVING ON

So…I have a new found mission that will likely take quite some time to fulfill. Fellow audiophiles can probably understand where I am going with this.
I call it “MISSION LOSSLESS!

I should rewind a bit first. There was something I learned (who’d a thought) during my undergraduate work at Adams State (now University) in Alamosa, CO. More specifically, while taking a computer music course with Dr. Matthew Schildt, I experienced a radical change in opinion with regards to why one should invest in lossless CDs/vinyl versus simply downloading music, whether it be through the ease of iTunes and online markets designed for purchasing and downloading your tunes, or pirating material through Pirate Bay and such. Now, the music piracy discussion has many opinions on either side of the coin, but I will say, on my own behalf, that by investing the money otherwise spent (or, perhaps not spent) on downloads has undeniably made me a better musician.

Now, it does not really make me a more technical musician, but it certainly does enrich my sense of music as an art form. There are two main principles that contributed to this:

Firstly, there is the question of quality, and the main contributing factors in this are compression, bitrate, and what we like to call the Loudness Wars. To keep it simple, the bitrate for a lossless audio CD track is 1,411.2 Kb/s while the bitrate for the highest quality MP3 is only 320Kb/s. If your now asking what the 340% bitrate increase from MP3 to CD does to the sound, I will let you utilize the links below and do some listening for yourself. The difference will surely surprise you (assuming you know what you are listening for). Don’t get me wrong, though. I am still a fan of the MP3 and using for what it was originally intended, saving space. Even that, however, must be done within reason.

Secondly, there is a question of contribution. Of coarse, I am referring to the economic benefits for the artist and all who helped make an album (engineers, producers, publishers, etc.) that come from selling CDS as opposed to downloads. It is mostly based on royalties received and the difference is rather influential. There are links below that go into more detail. I discussed this is my past blog: Saving the Industry, One Song at a Time

Well…is it worth it to me? to spend more on CDs? and wait for them to arrive in the mail? or, stand in line at retail? I would personally say, as one involved in the industry, a billion time YES! To be anecdotal, think of the difference between watching a movie in theaters versus watching a distorted, haphazard bootleg online. To me the decision is easy. How easy is it for you to choose?

IN ANY CASE

So, what does “Mission Lossless” mean to me? Well I have simply made a spreadsheet of all the music in my library that needs to be replaced over the years to come. It is essentially a list I put on in my Google Drive that I can refer to when I am browsing in a record store, looking at what is on sale in Bestbuy, or wherever I happen to be potentially purchasing music. Here is a link to my not-yet-on-lossless spreadsheet if you are at all curious what that looks like.

FUTURE READING/LISTENING

Thanks for reading the Musik Modus Mémoires!

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