Sunday, June 17, 2007

Just a suggestion

Now that iTunes is offering DRM-free, 256 kbps downloads, perhaps it's time to revolutionize the music distribution chain. I've noticed that the radio stations of Mitteleuropa tend to make really good (digital, often as not) broadcasts. Why not make these performances available in near-real time through iTunes or some such other download site? How about this, as long as we're at it: do away with proprietary (or, near-proprietary) formats? The MPEG standards are pretty universal at this point, except for DRM-obsessed executives and profit-hungry project managers. Make the music available at a reasonable cost in 256/320 kbps MP3. DRM-free, of course.

Why don't we take it a step farther? Why not give American orchestras and radio stations grant money to make digital-quality broadcasts of most of their season? Because arts support is down there with scurvy research, ticket prices are higher than they should be. The grant money can be repaid with the sales of the recordings and orchestras can get a nice revenue boost once everything is repaid. That way, American orchestras, from the big to the small, can get their stuff out there - in quality that does their art justice and for a modest fee - the way their European counterparts do.

It will never happen, but it's nice to think. There's a reason for this post, and it might turn into a review. We'll see.

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