back to article Audiophiles have really taken to the warm digital tone of streaming music

Streaming revenues rose 41 per cent to become the largest source of income for recorded music in 2017. Trade group the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry's annual survey recorded streaming growth for the third year running, up 8.1 per cent year-on-year. Paid streaming rose 45.5 per cent. However, it's still …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Streaming? Nah!

    Rediscovered Vinyl. Well, it was National Record Store day (or something like it) last weekend.

    Ok, I'm a luddite but I prefer to have the physical media in my sticky mits than have to be connected all the time.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Streaming? Nah!

      There is an audiophile streaming service that just streams a stream of '0' so they can bask in how low the noise is on their system

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Streaming? Nah!

        The worrying part is that there are a dozen different versions of the track and the audiophiles argue about which set of zeros really represents the true experience

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Streaming? Nah!

          You gotta have pure silver speaker cables and hardwired oxygen free 2 AWG power cables coming from a separate panel to insure there's no jitter that causes the 0s to get too close together or too far apart!

          1. Mayday Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Streaming? Nah!

            "You gotta have pure silver speaker cables etc"

            Probably the same sort of people who would buy these:

            https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0073HGBNI/ref=sspa_dk_detail_4?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B0073HGBNI&pd_rd_wg=WXBxG&pd_rd_r=31PM70FAE0VZ38KFRTSA&pd_rd_w=lO1jN

            PS if I know you and you buy these then I will disavow all knowledge of you. If you are the vendor and you manage to actually flog these then I tip my hat.

      2. Paul 195
        Coat

        Re: Streaming? Nah!

        > There is an audiophile streaming service that just streams a stream of '0' so they can bask in how low the noise is on their system

        Yes, but the only track they offer is 4'33' by John Cage.

    2. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

      Re: Streaming? Nah!

      I used to spend about 40 quid a week on CDs/LPs. After my boss handed me my 200 quid on a Friday I was straight down to HMV. Even buying stuff I already owned as the CD or record was wrecked.

      Absolute fucking madness. I get Spotify free with Vodafone, but I WILL be paying the 10er a month when my free 12 months runs out next week. Set everything to Extreme quality and have them cached on your device. Much handier than spending a fortune on physical media and FTPing it to your phone etc.

      DISCLAIMER:

      1) This was about 10 years ago when I was in my early 20s.

      2) HMV had already shuttered all the local record shops, the cunts.

      3) The internet didn't exist for me until about 2011

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: Spotify

        My mate comes round every 6 months or so. I play him music on youtube, he uses a spotify playlist he's built up since his last visit. One in five or so of the tunes he's listed won't be available when he goes to stream it. Not popular enough for Spotify to keep paying to host them. They'll be on youtube with about 200 views.

        I prefer a music collection where tunes don't just disappear after a while so I have an SD card full of mp3s.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Streaming? Nah!

      Most streaming services such as Spotify allow you to save/download music on your device so you don't have to be connected to listen to your favorite albums....

      I used to like the physical experience of having stuff in my hands, to be able to read a booklet and so on, but to be honest, I mostly like how easy I can find new and old music now. Stuff which I otherwise never have been able to listen to bcs I couldn't find a CD or vinyl anywhere...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Streaming? Nah!

      Physical is nice, in that it's yours. You don't have to rely on some third party not shutting up shop. Look at Amazon and Microsoft for very recent examples of this.

      I get fed up of downloading albums that tun out to be remastered / fucked up versions of the original.

      Having listen to a cracking interview with Marc Almond and David Ball the other day about the Soft Cell farewell gig, I downloaded Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret. WTF? A dozen other random bonus tracks shoehorned in that really didn't work. I'd like to say this was a one off, but find it on so many these days it annoys the crap out of me. Don't even start me on getting the bloody track names wrong (Stone Roses was one that had this).

      However there is the issue of space. When you have 1000+ CD's albums, several hundred CD singles and close on 200 vinyl albums and 12" singles, it just becomes impossible to store them and enjoy them.

      So at the end of this mini-rant although I prefer the original CD's, I have to admit that streaming and downloading is more practical.

      1. John Lilburne Silver badge

        I have to admit that streaming and downloading is more practical.

        I have a handful of downloaded albums and I always have the thought that I'm missing something or other. But then I do mostly have works which benefit from liner notes etc. An English translation of some Mande lyrics tends to be helpful.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Streaming? Nah!

      >Rediscovered Vinyl.

      Good luck playing that vinyl in your car on on the move, a shit medium for audio recordings that belongs in the past. It's inferior to digital in every way.

      1. Dave K Silver badge

        Re: Streaming? Nah!

        A lot of vinyls these days also come with a redeemable code so you can download a copy of the album in digital format as well. Best of both worlds!

      2. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Streaming? Nah!

        "Good luck playing that vinyl in your car on on the move, a shit medium for audio recordings that belongs in the past. It's inferior to digital in every way."

        Oil paintings are inferior to anything you can create on Photoshop, but people still paint and enjoy going to art galleries looking at physically created images. Not some shite put together on a computer.

        That aside, these days if you purchase vinyl (like I do) more often than not it will come with a CD version of the album or a download code for the MP3 of the album. So I can still listen to the vinyl at home on my turntable, or I can listen to it on the MP3 player in my car.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Streaming? Nah!

          >That aside, these days if you purchase vinyl (like I do) more often than not it will come with a CD version of the album

          Consumerism in all it's glory and future generations can thank you for the landfill.

          >Oil paintings are inferior to anything you can create on Photoshop

          No electronics required for oil painting however you do need them for recording, cutting and the playback of dreadful vinyl which has been superseded by better recording and playback techniques, namely digital. By the way there are some brilliant digital artists that use Adobe illustrator or similar and not Photoshop which as it's name suggests is intended for the manipulation of photos and not graphic art.

          Vinyl is a religion (similar to Scientology), not a science.

      3. phuzz Silver badge
        Go

        Re: Streaming? Nah!

        "Good luck playing that vinyl in your car on on the move"

        You just need one of these!

        (I'll stick to Bluetooth though, because MP3s don't get scratched every time you go over a bump...)

      4. Floydian Slip
        Happy

        Re: Streaming? Nah!

        Thankfully a lot of vinyl comes with a decent enough MP3 download code for phones etc so you get the best of both worlds

      5. tfb Silver badge

        Re: Streaming? Nah!

        It's inferior to digital in about the same way candles are inferior to LED lighting. LED lighting is clearly better for lighting: candles are better for romantic dinners.

      6. DuncanLarge Bronze badge

        Re: Streaming? Nah!

        "Good luck playing that vinyl in your car on on the move"

        Technically you SHOULD NOT be messing about with any device while on the move regardless of it being hands free etc. You shouldnt be distracted listening to any music or even the radio.

        You are driving. That is your only concern. You want entertainment? Dont be the driver!

        Technically thats what you should be doing in your car when moving. Watching the road, undistracted.

        Also, who in ther right mind would play music on vinyl or even digital formats in a moving car? That environment is so noisy and lo-fi for anything above spoken word (LBC is a great station). Might as well as listen to Darkside of the Moon or Thriller on a mono 3W speaker hanging out of a broken kitchen radio.

    6. DML71

      Re: Streaming? Nah!

      I assume you have a data plan and wifi at home? It doesn't have to be one or the other. You can have both. Your vinyl for listening at home and streaming for out and about. Plus you have the ability to download x amount of tracks for offline listening for when you are on an airplane or the tube.

      Having used Spotify for nearly 10 years losing it would be a real shock to the system. I used to spend far more than £120 a year on purchasing CDs and now I buy I only buy when one of my favourite artists releases one.

      Try one of the free trials and if you don't like it, fair play. Everyone's listening experience is different.

    7. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Streaming? Nah!

      ack on physical media. but if I can DL in a simple format like mp3 [i.e. no DRM] them I'm fine. I don't use a "DRM encumbered" operating system anyway.

      I might want to point out that if artists produced music WORTH BUYING, then more people would BUY IT.

      I have to wonder how much streaming/downloading THIS year is for things NOT produced within the last 3 years...

      [and a better marketing channel for JPOP would be nice]

  2. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    Odd, very odd

    I'm wondering who all these people are who've suddenly taken an interest in streaming. Nobody I know does, and I personally have hours of exactly the music I like instantly available without any external connection.

    Still, if the 'industry' is happy, maybe they'll leave the rest of us alone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Odd, very odd

      Everybody I know does.

      Odd, that.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Lazy and dumb crowd

        Anyone who can think further ahead than his nose is long, is maintaining his own music-, book-, movie- library!

        Whereas lazy and dumb crowd lends things and doesn't get why owning things is much better and cheaper within a few weeks.

    2. Graham Dawson

      Re: Odd, very odd

      Everyone I know falls somewhere on a spectrum between the two extremes.

      It's almost like anecdotes aren't data.

    3. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Odd, very odd

      It's people listening to music at work, from what I've seen. A lot of new phones can only do Bluetooth audio while charging so the low bitrate of streaming doesn't matter.

      I'm still buying lossless audio files for my phone's 400GB microSD card like I'm in the dark ages.

    4. DuncanLarge Bronze badge

      Re: Odd, very odd

      They probably have no clue it is a streaming service.

      They will find the app download it based on recommendation perhaps and it plays them music for a bit then asks them to pay if they want to keep using it. They pay and get counted at one of the streamers yet they likley have no clue they are.

      I too know very few people who "upgraded" to streaming for the sake of "upgrading" to streaming. These people know more about the industry and tech and history of the issues than the general layperson.

      This will happen with electric cars also. People who "upgrade" from petrol will do so due to their own convictions on saving the planet or money or being cool with all the new stuff and will know of the existence of the "upgrade" option etc. Most other people will upgrade due to recommendation / incentives / or simply the car that looks nice secondhand happens to be electric and the other half love s the seats and its got low mileage...

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Odd, very odd

        "Most other people will upgrade due to recommendation / incentives / or simply the car that looks nice secondhand happens to be electric and the other half love s the seats and its got low mileage..."

        Sounds like you are surrounded by not very clever people. Are you in the USA?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heathens, I still use ferric oxide tapes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ferric oxide tape

      Yeah, that's what we used to call them! "Got a ferric oxide tape I can record 'top of the popular' on" we would shout to each other! Played 'em on a Goodmans Magnetotone, manually cranking the drive every 3 minutes.

      Simpler times.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ferric oxide tape

        ... with or without Cr ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >Heathens, I still use ferric oxide tapes.

      Can't beat a wax cylinder, when knackered from playback (q.v. vinyl) you can make some nice candles out of them.

  4. Stuart Halliday

    Streaming is a young person's game.

    The over 50s have no interest.

    Still, all my life I've yet to hear a HiFi system that sounds like real-life.

    Can we get that sorted?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      I've yet to hear a HiFi system that sounds like real-life.

      There is a system called Windows

      - specifically you open the window and stick your head out, it's real life but the controls for what is playing are a bit limited

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The 'SHOUT' System Ver 1.02c-Beta (Pat. Pending)

        "There is a system called Windows

        - specifically you open the window and stick your head out, it's real life but the controls for what is playing are a bit limited"

        The controls are limited but easy to learn.

        When leaning out of the 'Window' you 'SHOUT' to one of the many real-life 'performers' what you would like to hear.

        Often you will get a response that is very entertaining and can involve many 'performers' at once.

        It is theoretically possible that one of these 'performers' will respond to your 'SHOUT' with the 'correct' response ........... although this has yet to happen in my experience. :)

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Not Windows

        Bar!

        You shout for beer and request your favourite Slade song form the band. Interestingly even live music benefits from caching and the sound improves considerably as one collects the leyden jars containing the extra 5 or 6 bits of compressed data from the bar.

    2. ITS Retired

      I'm over 70 and have an Atlanta Georgia AM streaming Oldies on the Internet. Free. So some of us over 50s do have an interest.

      However, you are correct about HiFi and real life. Real life is better if you can get far enough away, so as to not damage your ears. WTH is up with 130 db @ 300 feet, anyway?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        troll troll troll

        >WTH is up with 130 db @ 300 feet, anyway?

        Beats 130db @ 300 miles. Fsck you Krakatoa.

      2. Ben1892

        I think the best sound balance is usually to be heard from within a large concrete bunker some thirty-seven miles away from the stage

    3. martinusher Silver badge

      Streaming is a young person's game

      >Streaming is a young person's game

      I'm well over 50 (try 70) and I use digital music sources a lot. Its the only way to get half decent radio reception where I live (and while fiddling with a tuning knob and slide dial has its olde worlde charms you can't beat "Alexa, play <fill in the station name>" for convenience). (...and yes, we have the option to connect to real speakers via Bluetooth etc.). Playlist services like Pandora and Amazon are useful for background music, a radio substitute.

      But.....

      Once you start using hifi systems then the little details matter. You don't have to go stupid with oxygen free silver mains sockets, 'directional' data cables and the like but you do need a decent DAC with a proper clock source to recover the music. (No, you don't have to spend five figures on the thing -- even instrument quality ICs are quite cheap.) Lossy compression relies on perception trickery so even AAC will sound a bit off. You will be stuck with WAV or FLAC files; since media players tend to be fiddly to use ("playlists", "songs" and so on) you will often find it easier to just play the CD. (I do have the capability to play vinyl but it really isn't as good as the fanbois make it out; its just that a lot of pop music CDs are mastered at too high a level, they're too compressed so they sound awful on a decent system. Classical doesn't have that problem; the people who make classical records are for the most part people who listen to the product.)

      (BTW -- I'm not going to go into valve vs.solid state. I've got one of each. They have their good and bad points.)

    4. John Geek

      no interest? I'm 63, and I use Spotify extensively. My collection of 1000s of CDs is collecting dust. wrangling my MP3 'rips' onto various player platforms was getting just too annoying.

      now, my FAVORITE way of listening to music is live, at concerts, primarily at places where listening is the norm as opposed to partying/drinking/yelling.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        "at places where listening is the norm as opposed to partying/drinking"

        Why not both?

        Although people who talk during the quiet bits can sod right off.

    5. Dave 126 Silver badge

      > Streaming is a young person's game. The over 50s have no interest

      My dad streams over Spotify, I don't. He also has a lot of CDs, most of which he systematically copied over to his Brennan*. He listens to Radio 3 over FM a lot. If he hears a track he loves, he looks at the BBC website for that show, ticks the track he wants, and the BBC website generates a playlist that can be exported to Spotify.

      Another over fifties family member with more money had some Bose jukebox multiroom system, but these days uses some iPhone and Sonos setup.

      Don't forget that many over fifties have money to spare!

      *A small device containing a laptop CD drive, HDD and amp. CDs placed in are automatically ripped, with track titles taken from its internal database. It's not connected to anything except speakers. It's a nice machine, but hard to recommend to tech literate Reg readers. The man who made it used to work for Sinclair Research and for Atari.

      1. Dominion

        Brennan*

        You can also use a Brennan with Sonos - it works really well.

    6. Paul 195

      > Streaming is a young person's game.

      > The over 50s have no interest.

      Speak for yourself. I still have a very good quality vinyl system, which is enjoyable to listen to in ways digital isn't, but I wouldn't claim it is more accurate - just that the kind of distortion analogue delivers sounds euphonious and pleasant to the human ear. But most of the time, it's streaming all the way for me.

    7. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      "Streaming is a young person's game.

      The over 50s have no interest."

      Speak for yourself.

      I'm over the hump, and I use Apple Music every day.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Streaming is a young person's game.

      The over 50s have no interest.

      My dad is 73 and use Amazon Prime Music.

  5. HausWolf

    Just signed up for Pandora plus because my phone carrier doesn't gig my on the data and my car stereo supports the app.

    You can create your own radio stations and playlists. I'll drop it if they raise the price too much though.

    Because I'm over 60 and cheap.

  6. dmacleo

    only stream if no physical medium (cd in my case) available yet.

    have amazon prime get mp3 with the cd so works out ok.

    still, I do miss my vinyl stuff just cannot afford to get back into it that heavily

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Hehe, I was sitting in with an old boy with some Voigt single driver speakers, and a younger lad who was creating a cutting list to commission a carpenter so he could make his own. I pointed out to him that many timber yards will have a CNC router, and that the cutting services only add about 20% to the cost of the sheet material* - he was delighted! If you talk with the timber yard, they can even an angled cutting tool so your pieces have mitre edges. (I was quoted £100/h for their CNC router, but it's big solid and thus fast machine, individual sheets don't take long)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I stream, buy CDs and buy vinyl. We can coexist. As long as people pay for the music they consume, I'm happy.

  8. Korev Silver badge
    Stop

    What about the artists?

    What about the artists that make the music that's streamed? There were a few reports from a few years ago saying that the streaming site paid almost nothing to artists, especially on the free tiers.

    1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Re: What about the artists?

      What artists?

    2. Autonomous Cowherds

      Re: What about the artists?

      "the most significant roadblock on the path to sustainable growth, where <span class="strike"> certain online user upload services </span> the music industry exploit(s) music without returning fair revenue to those that are creating <span class="strike"> and investing in </span> it,"

      I read the comment in article, and had a similar feeling to you. I guess 'they' feel that the promotion of music for sale (investing in it) is more important to them than providing fair revenue for artists (creating it).

  9. Richard Jukes

    It's going to be big. I can login in to Spotify and play anything, granted I already have most on a NAS but the NAS doesn't always have such full and complete Meta data.

    That's what people are paying for, complete Meta data, every track ever released, an easy way to search and also check out related tracks and recommendations. All for less than the cost of one album a month.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      every track ever released

      No. You're lucky if their catalogue covers everything you need but they definitely do not have every track released. I've got loads of commercially released music that isn't streamable on Spotify (unless it's drastically changed in the last year) from 80s vinyl right through to current Asian music.

  10. Martin 33

    YouTube is paying for the audio rights, but is trying to not pay the video rights.

    The problem with YouTube isn't that they are not paying the royalties that regular streamers are paying, because they do. Its that YouTube isn't paying all the video royalties. YouTube is being asked to pay twice as much as non video streamers, so they are trying to find anyway they can keep from paying because it wouldn't be profitable if they paid all they owed. They would have to stop any music in any video, to make any profit otherwise.

    So do the recording companies want some money, or no money?

    1. IceC0ld Bronze badge

      Re: YouTube is paying for the audio rights, but is trying to not pay the video rights.

      YouTube is being asked to pay twice as much as non video streamers, so they are trying to find anyway they can keep from paying because it wouldn't be profitable if they paid all they owed. They would have to stop any music in any video, to make any profit otherwise.

      So do the recording companies want some money, or no money?

      ===========

      so YouTube, the second largest site on the planet doesn't wanbt to pay those that create the media in the first place

      it is obscene that they will make BILLIONS and pay out pennies

      got friends who have their music on there, same for most of the stream sites too, 000's of plays a month, gets them less than $5

      only the really massive 'stars' can 'demand' full and proper payments, or they will pull their cataogues from the site, so what is REALLY being said is that YouTube wont pay the vast majority of bands, because a few rich pricks want more

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: it wouldn't be profitable if they paid all they owed

      Good choice of words. Their business model is based on being able to monetise content on their site without taking responsibility for paying the creators. If the most popular video site on the planet can't work out a way to make money then clearly the business model is fucked.

      Any business can be profitable if it doesn't pay it's suppliers. It's not a viable model for long term success.

  11. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    Albums. Love 'Em

    I've got tons of music in MP3 format sitting on my hard drive, but never seemed to spend much time listening to it. We finally got a stereo system in the living room again and have been working though all of our collected CDs. And yes, a turntable is next.

    Listening to a full album of songs selected, recorded and sequenced to the satisfaction of the performer really is a superior experience. Using physical media eliminates the urge to click "next" and skip a song. And of course a CD or LP has album art, notes, and other tangible things that enhance the whole act of listening to music.

    In the car though it's radio. Specifically FM, of the community or campus variety, where you find real music enthusiasts who have a deep knowledge of what they're playing and who revel in the chance to share their enthusiasm. Again, it's not random tunes, it's a collection of songs chosen to make a larger picture.

    I'm sorry, but algorithms just won't do it.

    James Keeleghan playing right now.

    And a big shout out ot KFAI in Minneapolis and Vancouver Co-op Radio!

  12. Schultz

    The problem ... and the solution

    The fundamental problem of the music industry is easy to see: Once upon a time, there was great technological innovation, allowing every human to spend months' worth of their income into technological devices that would reproduce sounds and music with unprecedented fidelity. Everybody loved it and the industry supplying the music grew and grew and some of the workers in this industry became immensely rich. But the amazing technology got ever better and cheaper, so that every human could listen to music wherever and whenever they wanted, could record their own sounds and music whenever they wanted and share those. Unnecessary to say, it all got a bit boring after a while and humankind decided to spend their hard earned income elsewhere. The End.

    The solution: Get over it.

  13. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    I miss stadium rock

    Lord knows how many decibels... But when the whole stadium is moving, it's loud... Remember going to the Monsters of Rock concert. Just .... Wow.

    Steaming is nice but you don't get a contact buzz that lasts for hours...

  14. Pangasinan Philippines

    And you shall have music wherever you go

    With this wonderful invention

    https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/bush_discassette_dc70.html

    Great for lads holidays!

    Now I'm older it's Radio Paradise.

  15. TRT Silver badge

    I'll take...

    7" of black heaven against a streamy digit any day.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: I'll take...

      All digital needs is the 'tea' ceremony of cleaning the vinyl and placing it on the platter and dropping the needle in the wrong place and you'd convince yourself it sounded better.

  16. NanoMeter

    High End Audio

    Is not over. High end audio is becoming more expensive by the day. In the 80s a high end amplifier could cost £ 1,000 - 4,000. Now it's not unusual with £ 10,000 - 100,000. The good thing is mid fi is what would have been considered high end in the 80s and it costs between £ 300 - 2,000.

    1. Mog_X

      Re: High End Audio

      By the time you can afford the kit you won't get the benefit.

      My case in point - mid fifties, mortgage paid off and could easily get a decent system, but since I now have tinnitus (partly caused by numerous rock concerts, plus one of my dogs barking too close once), a bog-standard set of headphones are just as good.

      Same applies to televisions - why get a 4K screen if I'm looking at it through varifocals?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: High End Audio

        Because it is only 4K screens that are offered with HDR. You'll get the benefit of High Dynamic Range even if your vision is a little soft focus. Whether or not it is worth it for you is for you to decide - YMMV.

      2. Norman Nescio Silver badge

        Re: High End Audio

        My case in point - mid fifties, mortgage paid off and could easily get a decent system, but since I now have tinnitus (partly caused by numerous rock concerts, plus one of my dogs barking too close once), a bog-standard set of headphones are just as good.

        People have different tastes in music, and in their preferred method of listening. I dislike headphones (my ear-canals get really itchy with ear-buds, and my ears get distressingly sweaty with cans.), and I like to be able to feel the music I listen to*, which means I prefer a system that can cope with significant amounts of bass without fuzzing out. Unfortunately, this is not compatible with happy neighbours, so I very, very, rarely crank up the volume.

        *Listening to a symphony orchestra in full flight is, for me, a whole body experience. I regard feeling the timpani and double-basses as an integral part of the piece. Listening to the Mozart Requiem or Carmina Burana on headphones is a bit like waving a sparkler around and claiming it's a good reproduction of a 6 inch chrysanthemum mortar shell.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: High End Audio

      But most isnt any higher end audio than the stuff you get from richard III sounds.

  17. Yorkshirefoxy

    Streaming

    I listen to music on Tidal & Apple Music. I’ve just upgraded my Linn turntable and will be buying more vinyl. Streaming is great for convenience & finding new music but vinyl is best for actually listening to music.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vinil >> Digital? Hmmm

    FTA: "Vinyl continues to grow, up 22.3 per cent in 2017, outselling digital downloads"

    But the bar chart later in the article would appear to trash that assertion (unless vinyl is a significantly greater proportion of physical sales than CDs, which seems highly unlikely).

    If you follow the link in the article to the source, it actually says that *all* physical sales (CDs included) outsold digital.

    Vinyl is still very niche, and rightly so IMHO.

  19. peterm3

    golden age

    I think we're living in a golden age of audio technology - loads of choice. My parents have a HD television but half the time they are watching SD as Freeview has "1" for BBC1 SD!

    I think hifis themselves are obsolute - I bought my Onkyo CR-505 in 2004 in John Lewis for about £350. I have retrofitted it with a Chromecast and Bluetooth input. I think John Lewis stock dozens of multi-room speakers and various bluetooth or wifi speakers, but nothing like a traditional hifi. The only question is whether a £350 system (or £500 taking into account inflation) would still be at all usesable in 14 years time. Probably not! Even buying something for £250 every 7 years would be a bit optimistic.

  20. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I haven't bought any new vinyl records since the early 2000s, do they now come with the option of getting a digital download version as well or do they expect you to pay twice for the same song if you also want to listen to it on the move?

    I don't listen to music enough to warrant paying a monthly subscription so the only streaming I do tends to be from Youtube. If your a fan of an artist you can always set up a playlist and let it go in the background while you do something else on your computer, sure the artist might not get a huge amount of revenue from YT but it will be better than nothing.

  21. Bill M

    Spotify & JBL's

    I have used Spotify for years and love it, especially that I can have it running on my computer hooked up to my amp's with speakers everywhere including some meaty JBL's in the garden and control it from my phone. Was having a barbie one evening last summer and whacked on Dark Side of the Moon, which my neighbours heard, liked and asked me to turn it up, which I did from my phone. JBL certainly stands for Just Bloody Loud.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Spotify & JBL's

      Thank god I don't live next door to you. The major advantage of outdoors in my view is the peace and quiet interrupted only by the sounds of nature.

  22. erikborgo
    Megaphone

    Streaming is killing musicians

    It may be convenient and cheap for all you can eat streaming monthly bundles but spare a thought for all of the creatives waiting tables, gardening, painting and decorating because music income (even for moderately succesful tracks) is nothing compared to that of years gone by. Especially when Spotify can't "find you" to pay you anyway.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Streaming is killing musicians

      well, music marketing is definitely different. But I think that streaming should give independent musicians a better deal. Downside: you'll have to market your own stuff.

      In the past, RIAA would get a contract with musicians and then do all of the marketing, etc.. They literally OWNED your career. They'd use one very successful musician/group to finance several others.

      Now it may be the mediocre groups/artists [who seem to be VERY plentiful these days] not doing so well, whereas a few REALLY GOOD ones actually _DO_ do well.

      Or something like that. I'm quite dissatisified with a lot of the CRAP I hear. Occasionally you'll get another album from Muse or a new group popping out of the woodwork that's worth buying a CD for. Other than that, it's mostly CRAP on the radio these days, and I am not willing to pay money to search for music I might like. Streaming radio stations are helpful, though, and a lot of 'niche' stuff on I-Heart-Radio and similar.

      Lately I find myself listening to a 'classic rock' station, the local 'metal' station, the local JAZZ station, and streaming radio (JPOP primarily; where ELSE can you find it?). None of it costs anything, and as long as they don't play anything by 'Red Hot Chili Peppers' [holding nose while "singing" about birds sharing some kind of lonely view] I'm satisfied.

      In general, "modern music" kinda sucks. But there are gems to be found. They're just too few and far between. It's a reflection of RIAA's antiquated "marketing", propping up stinky bands [and leveraging radio stations to play their songs "until we like them"], and funding a handful of stinkers for every one that's worth paying for.

  23. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    "Audiophiles have really taken to the warm digital tone of streaming music"

    Lossy compression often does indeed sound "warm" compared to pure 16/44 (CD), due to a loss of high frequency content, and dulling of transients.

    It's a myth, however, that LP and other older formats have to sound "warm". Indeed, realistic transients and high frequency contents is typically what you get with a very good vinyl playback system. Nothing warm or dull about it. Quite the opposite.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      'warm digital tone' of compressed audio

      ack on the lossy compression. sometimes it makes it sound "better" but just as often, not.

      This also relates to the perceived "loudness war" i.e. max out the digital signal values on EVERYTHING, keeping it on "max loud" all of the time [cutting off transients, and adding some harmonic distortion in the process]. Strangely, mp3'ing or ogg'ing that tends to mellow out some of the artifacts caused by the clipping...

      So the REAL problem might be "the loudness war" - and of course the streaming audio could sound just a _bit_ better.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war

  24. simpfeld

    Worried about Digital download's future

    I'm slightly concerned about the decline of digital downloads, I get the feeling these will disappear in time.

    They seem like the best way to get music for me. Firstly, I can download in DRM free lossless formats (FLAC) and don't occupy any house space like a CD. The advantage over streaming services is that I own them and they can't be withdrawn at a whim e.g. by companies falling out with each other.

    My second choice is second hand CD's. I only need to read once to rip and they can live in a cupboard. But CDs seem to be in the decline too.

    To be honest I'm not bothered about the lossless format, it just means I can always get back to the raw audio to move to any future file formats without re-ripping, without artefacts of a sequence of lossless decodes/re-encodes would potentially introduce.

    Why people like Vinyl is beyond me. Inconvenient, crackling and a self degrading format. Where they often have to make the lower frequencies mono to stop the stylus jumping out of the grove (and this is a frequency above your sub-woofer operates before anyone thinks this doesn't matter) and the quality gets worse the further into the disk you play. Liking vinyl hipster anti-science a bit like global warming denial. Only excuses for it is sentimental reasons, artwork appreciation and avoiding the loudness wars on some recordings (but then you should digitise immediately and never play it again!).

    I wish there was a DRM digital download service for video, but that just doesn't seem to exists at all. Unless anyone knows better?

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Worried about Digital download's future

      It's not just digital downloads - the trend is to eliminate the concept of ownership for everything: houses, cars - even clothing - as well as entertainment.

      It used to be the less well off who were at perpetual risk of their white goods and furniture being taken away when they couldn't meet the HP payments. Now, increasingly, everyone is at risk of stuff they believe to be "theirs" disappearing either because their circumstances change or because the circumstances of the provider change - they go bust, change their business model, get bored, ...

      HP existed because of the high purchase cost of the items concerned but the actual cost to the business of renting out digital content is peanuts (the artists involved typically get next to nothing), In other words, renting has gone from a way of making things affordable for people of limited means to making things more expensive and profitable. I really don't understand why so many people seem OK with being trapped in perpetual usury.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Worried about Digital download's future

        A very legitimate concern.

        You can argue 'you have a choice', and yes, you do at present.

        However, sooner or later, the industry will try to settle on what is the most lucrative alone, and if the services that provide most value to the consumer are minority compared to the service that is the most lucrative, they'll be, cut or the firms sooner or later no longer able to compete.

        At least with HP, once you paid the cost plus the interest off, it was yours, streaming is just renting.

        Even a magazine subscription doesn't remove your right to read back issues when it expires or the magazine goes out of business.

        Streaming does have some attractive advantages though.

  25. Neal McQ

    For anyone interested, "The Defiant Ones" on Netflix (episode 3) gives a great insight into those who understood what was happening with digital music and streaming, and those who hadn't a clue.

    I.e. Apple, and the Beats Founders got it straight away. Jimmy Iovine: "we are so f&%ked" upon the first time he saw Napster.

    And Sony Music and Warner: "nah, it's fine, nothing to see here".........

    Of course, they've turned the corner now and shown there's money to be made with online sales. I presume 'digital' print will do the same in time, and TV is the next one to implode (although it would appear slightly different dynamics to this one with the arrival of Netflix and Amazon Prime creating their own content, etc.).

    I wonder what amount of bandwidth music streaming is taking up now? and as it continues to take off, will the accumulation of users make a dent? (at present, Spotify/AppleMusic still only around 50-100 million users).

  26. msknight Silver badge

    High definition vinyl...

    ....it's a thing.... 20hz to 100Mhz response is claimed... all down to frickin' lasers...

    https://pitchfork.com/news/high-definition-vinyl-is-happening-possibly-as-early-as-next-year/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYZtTdiltTg

    And if you want music on the move, how about cassette ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTL9QJH72eM ... yes, I'm restoring walkman units.

    New tape is being made and everyone is looking to Sony to release another cassette walkman, after the announcement on their web site that they acknowledge the return of analogue formats.

    1. msknight Silver badge

      Re: High definition vinyl...

      Sorry - 100Khz.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: High definition vinyl...

        I was wondering about 100Mhz on vinyl... that'd be some interesting engineering

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MP3 != audiophile

    Even at maximum quality settings MP3 is very poor. Amazes me how many people don't seem to understand or care.

  28. erikborgo

    Reel to Reel

    Original master tapes are the only way to get fidelity. If you play them rarely.

    1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

      Re: Reel to Reel

      Original master tapes are the only way to get fidelity. If you play them rarely.

      Maximum fidelity is listening to live music. Then there's no intermediate processing at all.

      If you want high-quality reproducibility of a single performance, then there are various means of doing so. Most performances go straight to digital these days. What sound engineers do to the original sound recordings has a great deal to do with the finished output, and frankly, I have neither the time, nor the skills, nor the money to mix my own tracks from masters. If you want to, feel free.

      Live music is not to everyone's taste, and just as some people eschew live theatre and prefer to see films/movies. There is a world of difference between theatre performed by good actors and any film/movie. Whether it is better is down to individual opinion.

      It boils down to taste, and there is no one 'right' method. What is a pity is that various interested parties do their best to minimise the availability of all the possibilities enabled by modern technology, and make money by doing so.

      1. erikborgo

        Re: Reel to Reel

        You must mean live UNAMPLIFIED music, with no possibility of live Autotune.... folk or classical?

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Reel to Reel

          "You must mean live UNAMPLIFIED music, with no possibility of live Autotune.... folk or classical?"

          How about JAZZ?

          /me "takes 5"

          'Real Musicians' play jazz and/or classical; wannabe's use autotune. Many musicians are obviously talented enough to play jazz or classical, but would rather make money...

          A lot of 80's music is like jazz/rock crossover. JPOP too. no wonder I like it! [but that 70's disco+soul crap can be flushed into the sewer as far as I'm concerned]

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Reel to Reel

      most mastering is done digitally these days. So in theory the CD will have the "true fidelity" to what the master has on it.

      analog mastering is highly overrated. It has to do with the way tape DISTORTS the audio. Just the tape itself, putting it on magnetic media, changes the audio. Some people prefer "that sound" for a number of reasons, as the effects might actually be similar to what happens when you mp3 something. There's a natural volume compression, for one, that affects different frequencies in different ways. Analog recording techniques did their best to limit the changes to the audio, but it's definitely there. Try listening to 'tape monitor' while recording, as a good example of the changes. The tape's output is always close, sometimes REALLY close, but is never an exact copy. it's just the nature of analog recording.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Reel to Reel

        "analog mastering is highly overrated. It has to do with the way tape DISTORTS the audio."

        Actually, may early digital workstations sounded like total crap. It's fully possible, and easy, to make digital audio mixing consoles ruin the sound.

        Those nasty effects went far and beyond any good analogue system's minor issues, rendering the resulting mix horrible.

        However, because there wasn't any audible hissing noise in the background, many were very impressed by the early digital sound.

  29. Citizens untied

    Anyone else observe that music industry revenue was highest during peak Napster.

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