Radiohead and the Mp3

Posted: February 17, 2011 by jerkmag in BLARE -- music
Tags: , , , , ,

First off I would like to start off this post with an apology. Now William, “what are you apologizing for” you might ask.

Let me put it in context for you. Radiohead is putting out their new album, The King of Limbs, this weekend over the Internet before the physical CD ships. There are two pricing tiers for two different types of audio files you can download: $9.00 for mp3 and $14.00 for WAV. Now I gawked at the idea of paying $9.00 for mp3 files, because the mp3 has gotten itself such a bad reputation. Mp3’s have a reputation for their shitty sound quality, uber compression, and other technical shit that most people don’t care or know about.  So I went out bashing Radiohead for overpricing low quality material, without knowledge of what kind of mp3 they were actually putting out.

Turns out a mp3 is designed to take the original audio file and compress it into a smaller more portable format. Mp3 files can be compressed to either maintain quality or lower it. On the other hand a WAV file is uncompressed with no audio flaws, just the mix the artist wanted you to hear. The mp3 format being sold is a file at a 320K-bit rate. That is a high quality mp3 people! Unless you are an audio engineer and know what to listen for you will hear no difference in quality. This new found knowledge proved I was wrong and has led me to change my stance.

DON’T BUY THE $14.00 WAV FILES! Radiohead is overcharging now for music that you can get for $5.00 less! Why the hell would they do that? I have no clue! Don’t get me wrong, the WAV files are actual CD quality, but the closeness in quality from the mp3 and the price disparity makes no sense to me. But honestly if I were you, just go listen to the new album on YouTube and decide if you want to buy it or not after the fact.

You have all witnessed a rare apology from me ladies and gentlemen, good day.

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