Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The RIAA Introduces A Hi-Res Music Logo And Some Confusion To Go With It

Hi-Res Music logo
While the number of streaming sites that feature hi-res audio is still limited (Tidal and Deezer come to mind), there are plenty of download sites that will happily sell you some very hi-res files for a premium price.

That said, it looks like the RIAA (the major label's lobbying organization) is trying to get serious about hi-res music with the introduction of an official hi-res logo (seen on the left). It's asking distributors to display the logo so music consumers will have no confusion over what kind of fidelity to expect, but it may end causing more confusion than it alleviates.

Interestingly, the RIAA defines high resolution music as "lossless audio capable of reproducing the spectrum of sound from recordings which have been mastered from better than CD quality (48kHz/20bit or higher) music sources which represent what the artists, producers, and engineer's originally intended."

Take notice the 48kHz/20 bit (it's not a misprint). This is a significant difference from what many online services (including Apple's Mastered For iTunes program) call "hi-res," which is 44.1kHz/24 bit.

There's virtually no recording done at 20 bit these days and that's been the case for about 10 years, so why not just make the standard 24 bit, which is what virtually everyone records at anyway? Also, why not just go and make 96kHz the true lower limit of hi-res, like in the real world?

This new logo and definition is bound to cause some confusion in the marketplace where there was little before. This just goes to show how behind the times the powers that be actually are.

According to the press release, "Retailers who have adopted the Hi-Res MUSIC logo include Acoustic Sounds Super HiRez, Blue Coast Music, HDtracks, IsoMike Recordings, ClassicsOnline HD*LL , PonoMusic, and ProStudioMasters. In addition to these digital music retailers, the logo also features on advertising and promotional materials of both independent and major record labels."

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