Let me begin by saying that Apple and I go way back. In 1996, I launched my first online publishing company while in music school at USC on a black-and-white Macbook 520b that barely could connect to the Internet. Only a few years later, your PR firm simply blew my mind by sending me a first-generation iPod two weeks before it was released. I named it our publication's Product of the Year while other audiophiles were stuck listening to vinyl. It would be fair to call me an Apple enthusiast, specifically when it comes to music.
And that's exactly why I must ask this question: why won't Apple sell music in HD formats? I don't understand this. If I want to download a TV show like Homeland for some binge watching on my iPad, I can spend a little more money to get a higher-resolution HD version via the iTunes Store. The same is true if I want to purchase or rent a movie like Entourage to feed to my 85-inch Samsung Ultra HD TV from my Apple TV. However, if I want to listen to, say, Dark Side of the Moon in its best format, I have to dig out the physical SACD version to get many times more resolution (not to mention a very good 5.1 surround sound mix) than anything I can buy from Apple. The record labels master the music in HD formats and could provide them to iTunes to generate a much needed additional income stream for their artists and labels. It's hard to understand why Apple would offer HD options for television and movies but not music.
Other companies are selling music in HD, and these smaller players have some good titles already. What they don't have is the Apple pipeline. No company dominates music distribution like Apple does today. Nobody. At this point, most music lovers (and nearly every audiophile) have ripped their music collection from a silver disc to a hard drive. Imagine the revenue that could be generated by encouraging those customers to upgrade to HD versions of their favorite albums through iTunes? Kaleidescape, a company that sells AV servers and has a movie download store, has inked deals with many of the major film studios to allow their clients to upgrade ripped DVDs to Blu-ray-quality downloads for a very fair price. Apple could do the same thing with music, one would assume.
I understand that high-resolution music might not be for every customer, but why not offer it as an option for those who do want to hear music closer to the way it is recorded on the master? The art deserves it, and the consumer electronics industry would benefit from such an act. In effect, you'd be selling the race fuel needed to power today's high-performance audio and home theater systems. Literally, this could be billions of dollars per year in new revenue for both Apple and the CE industry, as well as yet another reason why every music lover can't get by without an iMac, iPhone, iPad, and iEverythingElse.
Thank you for your consideration on this matter.
Jerry Del Colliano
• Apple Music Streaming Music Service (iTunes Version) Reviewed at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Apple to Delay Streaming TV Service Until 2016 at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Should Some Audiophile Products Be Sold on a Limited-Edition Basis? at HomeTheaterReview.com.