The price for these downloads are a premium $19.95 for the 88.2k version, and 29.95 for the 176.4k version, which is quite a jump from the normal $9.99 that you pay for an MP3/AAC download on iTunes or Amazon MP3. HDtracks is no startup in that it already has 5,400 albums and 100,000 customers, but the Stones will be the biggest act in their stable so far.
This is all well and good and it will be an interesting experiment to see just what the sales and revenue will be from this venture, but until a current major artist signs on, we probably really won't know what the appetite is for hi-res tracks. The problem is that not that many artists today actually record at extended sample rates like 88.2, 96, 176.4 or 192k. For artists that recorded their work on analog tape, transfer to any of these digital formats is easy, but that format all but went away about a decade ago.
While it's true that a small contingent of artists still record on tape, it's a dying breed. Tape costs are high, and machine maintenance is higher, which is a limitation to the so-called "audiophile" downloads. But even 44.1kHz/16bit CD quality would be a vast improvement than what we're now used to online. With bandwidth and storage costs going lower all the time, this just might be an idea who's time will soon come.
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