Artist Reveals Apple Scrapped Plans To Launch High-Definition Music Format

Artist Reveals Apple Scrapped Plans To Launch High-Definition Music Format

Recording artist Neil Young has revealed in an interview Apple had plans to launch a high-definition music format that never came to fruition. Young says he met with Steve Jobs personally to discuss the service prior to his passing, but “not much” happened with it in the end.

In the interview with All Things D — which was summarized by CNET — Young revealed he approached Apple, and specifically Steve Jobs, about the high-definition music service, which he believes would have happened had Steve not passed away:

When asked if Young had approached Apple about the idea, Young said that he had, in fact, met with Jobs and was “working on it,” but that “not much” ended up happening to the pursuit.

Of note, Young made mention that Jobs was a vinyl fan, despite having helmed the company that would spearhead the way people listened to and purchased digital music.

“Steve Jobs was a pioneer of digital music, and his legacy is tremendous,” Young told the crowd. “But when he went home, he listened to vinyl. And you’ve got to believe that if he’d lived long enough, he would have done what I’m trying to do.”

Young said that MP3 files only have around “5 percent of the data present in the original recording,” and that he is concerned that there is no high-definition format available to consumers. Though he also acknowledges that high-definition music would make for much larger music files.

Tracks currently purchased through Apple’s iTunes music store are at a quality of 256 kbps, in the AAC format. Apple does offer a higher quality, lossless audio format that is compatible with the iPhone and the iPod, but these files are significantly larger than standard AAC files.

Based on Young’s interview, it seems the plans Apple did have to introduce high-definition music are no longer being worked on.

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  • Richard Migneron

    Hi,

    Actually, in France (anywhere on the Net actually), you can get CD quality recordings and for some specific recordings supplied by the producers, Studio Master quality recordings.

    check out http://www.qobuz.com

  • Ruvann

    Literally the only reason why I don’t buy digital music is because it’s lossy format.
    I’ll only buy if it’s lossless.

    Why not just have the option to choose default format in iTunes’ preferences at the Store section.
    Always download ALAC format – CHECK

  • Srose428

    Exactly, FLAC or ALAC needs to be instituted as the standard and then you can choose to downgrade to 320k, 256k or whatever compression you prefer.  But with 64gb of storage now in my iPhone, we can leave compression behind.  Vinyl is the only reason to buy physical music.

  • minimalist1969

    While I admire Neil Young for being the public face of audio
    quality, bit rates are hardly the biggest problem with music today.   Over compression at the mastering level creates
    distorted music with little or no dynamics left so it may be heard above the noise
    on crappy earbuds and cheap iPod docks. 
    An Apple lossless version taken from these masters is going to sound
    just as bad as the 256kbps AAC.  And the
    dirty little secret is that few companies bother doing a completely different
    master for their vinyl releases so most of the “warmth” people hear on modern
    vinyl releases is a product of the medium itself, not a better representation
    of the original recording.

  • marioyohanes

    “… 256 kbps, in the AAC format. Apple does offer a higher quality, lossless audio format …”Correction, AAC is not and will never be lossless. The algorithm simply just not designed for lossless, that’s why it called as digital music compression technology.

  • David L. Clark

    They’re referring to ALAC in the second half of that quote. Notice the period after ‘AAC format’? That ends the current sentence. They begin the new one with ‘Apple does offer…’ but they do not mention it by name.

  • David L. Clark

    With hard disks getting larger and more affordable, I am unsure as to why lossless audio has not become the standard…

  • ZeusCarver

    It’s called “Apple Lossless”

  • Jacques Yeoh

    Why FLAC or AIFF while ALAC is the same with half of the size

  • Carl Geers

    It’s become commonplace to accept mediocrity. Not just in the music industry. Until there is a shift back to quality we will all suffer sifting through the garbage that is filling up our lives. I grew up listening to vinyl, then 8-track tapes, then casette tapes, then was blown away by CD’s and their quality and now have to listen to over compressed music that just isn’t worth the convenience of instant downloading.

    I had a great car stereo when I was younger and my best friend just couldn’t hear the difference. So many people are deaf and blind when it comes to quality now. Let’s open our minds and our ears and eyes as well. We have the technology, let’s use it.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the UK. He has an interest in all things tech, but most enjoys covering Apple, anything mobile, and gaming. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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