The world of music & sound has significantly changed since CDs. The Physical vs Digital war is over and the latter survived. And this leads us to a completely new era in the music history – compression. Today, lossy compression algorithm goes as far as leaving only a 10th of the size of a CD. By decreasing the bit rate, they cut a ton of artist’s work done in the studio. In other words, you only get to taste the cherry on top, but you are not digging any deeper into the cake itself. No doubt that the quality sucks so much nowadays.
It is considered to be the best & the worst thing that has ever happened to music. Streaming music from the cloud helps getting it out there and reach many more people but it comes at a significant sacrifice. It is much easier to stream compressed music due to its lower bit rate & smaller size. Therefore, it takes away emotions and the life out of songs. For instance, YouTube has the biggest music collection on Earth. It is convenient but it is not for enjoying Hi-Fi recordings.
This one is a biggie. Not only formats matter but also the equipment you are using to play them. Good systems are expensive. They are not accessible nor are they affordable. The culture of getting a drink, putting a pair of top-notch headphones on & launching an amplifier to chill & enjoy real quality music is fading away. On the contrary, ads and marketers dictate us what we should listen, in what kind of headphones we should do it as well as which service should be used to have it all set & ready.
Music is a highly lucrative market. No doubt. Considering the fact that it is a content delivery business, its BIG players are primarily focused on making sure that the media they offer is easily deliverable. This includes making the size small for easy download – one of the highest priorities they have. Basically, convenience – means more sales. They will sacrifice anything for convenience, even the quality of their products. Nothing personal, just business.
In conclusion, many factors fuel the audio quality decline tendency. Most of them are driven by businesses and different organizations’ priorities. One thing remains certain – it will keep moving this road unless a big change will take place soon.
PS. To date, 100B+ songs have been downloaded. 200B+ hours of music has been streamed. Compression has stripped emotion from every single one. It’s possible to bring it all back. Lossless.
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