Towards genuinely non-digital content
While the new BBC director general George Entwistle bets the shop on producing “genuinely digital content” other more enlightened souls are leading the way back to genuinely non-digital content. High-end speaker manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins has just announced the release of a 24-bit studio-quality download version of Mike Oldfield’s audio classic Tubular Bells. Although still working in the digital domain this lossless format reproduces the sound almost exactly as captured at the original sessions, thereby eliminating the quality degradation experienced with lossy digital formats such as MP3. Studio quality downloads are a commendable way of combining the benefits of digital distribution with (almost) non-digital sound quality. Much attention is given to the demise of major labels and other macro changes in the record industry, but micro developments by niche players such as Bowers & Wilkins are being overlooked. Another example of disruptive innovation by a different audio hardware manufacturer is the studio quality download of the magnificent Bach Matthew Passion from Linn Records that I wrote about in 2009.
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