Apple Lossless Downloadable

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by Josh Ray on June 27 '06

 Assets Resources 2006 06 Apple Lossless

Apple Lossless for download?!? The end of MP3s?!? Eh, probably not, but it doesn't hurt to pray. If you haven't heard the rumors flying around the net for the last few days, it seems Apple has released "iTunes Producer 1.4" to the record companies responsible for making their music iTunes ready. What makes 1.4 special is, as Apple says (privately to the labels, mind you) it, "now encodes music in Apple Lossless codec, which produces larger audio files and increases upload times." And makes them sound damn spiffy.

Lossless, for those who aren't hip with the digits, is pure CD quality sound. MP3s have been technically dead for a while now. Apple's AAC as well as Microsoft's formats replaced MP3 a few years ago, but they are still lossy and the difference can be heard on quality systems. Lossless is perfect. Really. And takes up far less space than WAV files. So if iTunes begins allowing downloads of lossless tracks, then there will be a lot of iPodders out there with CD perfect music and a miniscule number of audiophiles who give a rip.

Of course, there may be a price hike for lossless downloads, something to the tune of $1.29 per song. Someone told me the Beatles catalogue is being remastered for iTunes as we speak so it would make sense if the Beatles and Lossless were released hand in hand. Read the news here.


I like lossless. I prefer flac, but still...lossless is lossless. But mp3's have not gone away, they are still the lingua franca of the digital crowd.
"Pure CD quality sound"? Give me DSD or vinyl quality sound and then we'll talk. :D And hard drives are just getting bigger and cheaper too. They almost encourage you to pig out in space. I still think a buck for a DRM-filled binary file prone to be zapped into oblivion by drive or computer failures is overpriced for what they actually are and deliver, though. How Steve Jobs convinced the world to give him all their money for this is beyond me.
It's a gateway to higher-resolution lossless files, the most obvious bump being to 96 KHz/24 bit. Any old PC/mac can push this data rate, and higher. It's a compelling format upgrade - in time with USB-DACs hitting the shelves.
I guess this means I have to buy one of these damned things. Here I go, kicking and screaming as I get dragged into the well of new technology -- again.
"Someone told me the Beatles catalogue is being remastered for iTunes..." At $1.29 a song, that ought make big $$$$$$ for the microsoft of MP3. Pick up your old LP's, digitize them, or RIP your CD's with EAC and stop being dumb.
It would still have Apple's DRM, which means I couldn't stream it over my Squeezebox, so... no thanks. If not for the DRM I'd be very excited about this. As it is, I'm perfectly happy to buy high bitrate MP3s that don't have DRM (or example, from