iTunes to Offer High Definition Audio Downloads?

Posted by admin on April 25, 2014

There's a suggestion recently reported on MacRumors that iTunes will soon add genuine High Definition files to their catalog. Technically this is a no-brainer, as Apple has been storing up 24-bit / 96kHz files for years: that's the format they prefer the record companies to use when the supply their music files. I guess the delay has been agreeing commercial terms with the content owners. Some record companies are still stuck in the last century, but if any company is in a good position to pull them in to year 2014, then maybe it's Apple.

If this goes ahead, it should provide a mountain of new HD music for us to spend our hard-earned money on. Chances are there will be no bargains, at least not at first. Still, adding a giant new shopfront to our HD options has got to be a good thing in the long term.

Unfortunately for Apple, many customers interested in High Definition music left iTunes behind a long time ago when iTunes didn't even offer CD-quality downloads. There is now a respectable list of sites where HD enthusiasts can buy and download HD music files, and most of these use FLAC as their preferred format. And of course Apple doesn't play nicely with FLAC.

So, assuming this comes about, what will this mean for Squeezeboz users?

1. Another place to spend your money on HD music!

2. No need to go back to the Apple iTunes eco-system. You can play the HD ALAC (Apple Lossless) files on your Squeezebox devices, no problem. (That assumes that the record companies don't force Apple to go back in time and add DRM silliness to their 'premium' downloads.)

3. If you prefer to stick with FLAC, there are utilities that make conversion from ALAC to FLAC quite easy. (We'll add an article on this topic to our easysqueezebox to-do list.)

So - all positive news. 

It will be interesting to see if Apple gets their HD act together before Neil Young gets his long-talked about Ponomusic site up and selling actual downloads.

While you're waiting for these two companies to arrive late at the party, you can continue to legally buy and download HD music from many sites around the world. Some of them are listed here.

Happy listening.