Why Apple Acquiring Tidal Could Be Exactly What The World Needs

Apple is reportedly in exploratory talks to acquire Tidal. Though it's possible that nothing could come of this, and much of the online chatter surrounding this news is processed, regurgitated press release—I'd like to contribute to the speculation by sharing my thoughts.

I think it's exactly what the world needs. It would be an intelligent move on Apple's part that would simultaneously benefit listeners, musicians—and of course, boost the high-end audio industry.

Here's how it happens: Apple acquires Tidal. As in, either 1) Apple Music swallows Tidal, adds a high-resolution, top-tier option, and feeds a bigger, better, badass-er version to the world, or 2) Apple Music and Tidal remain separate, and keep to their current markets.

The latter is obviously less likely because it's just not in Apple's nature, and though 4.2 million Tidal subscribers is a considerable amount to jeopardize, Apple Music's 15 million is still a much larger consideration. Apple is more likely to join forces to improve its chances of defeating the enemy that is Spotify. Either way, the concept of hi-resolution streaming stays alive and gains access to a larger audience.

Let's break it down.

Subscribers have access to more music: Tidal's exclusives (Beyoncé, Jay Z, Prince, Kanye, Madonna, etc.) combined with Apple Music's exclusives (Drake, Taylor Swift, Chance the Rapper, etc.) make for a very appealing combined catalog. This added incentive could remedy the issue of people subscribing only for a specific exclusive release, then quitting shortly before the trial period ends. People will no longer have to choose between the two to gain access to different exclusive releases. Additionally, with the increased subscriber base, exclusivity, and marketing power, more artists are likely to jump aboard the exclusive content train, providing more music for subscribers.

Musicians earn more money and create more music: Tidal's transparent business model is designed by artists, for artists. Through this, musicians receive a higher percentage of royalties from Tidal than other streaming services (Spotify), and more of the listener's money goes to artists than to the streaming services themselves. By providing exclusive incentives to paying subscribers and not offering a free tier, Tidal is reestablishing the value of music and reminding the world that music is worth paying for. The world shouldn't need to be reminded of music's worth, but because of massively vicious, free-music, lossy-comprssed monsters like Spotify and YouTube, that's the unfortunate reality we live in.

If Apple acquires Tidal and maintains a similar business model, whatever Apple Music/Tidal evolves into in the future will likely gain favorable attention from musicians. More royalties for musicians means more money to make music, means more music for subscribers . . . makes the world a better place.

The High-End Audio Industry gains access to a wider audience, more benefits, more profits: This is just a guess, but I'm quite sure that most audiophiles who subscribe to Tidal joined for the CD-quality streaming. The majority of the world, however, is probably in it for the Beyoncé and Kanye exclusives, and is more likely to associate Tidal with Jay Z over high-resolution streaming. I don't have a problem with this, and I think Jay Z (and the rest of Tidal's impressive artist-owners) have done pretty good so far. I just think that Apple can build upon Jay Z's work and do a much better job of enticing the masses.

This entire train of thought hinges on the optimistic assumption that Apple will keep hi-rez streaming if it acquires Tidal. Here's why I think they will: 1) Tidal HiFi is proof that there is a market for hi-rez audio outside of the high-end audio industry. 2) Apple has a habit of taking really great concepts and executing them a lot better than their original creator. Even though Apple has historically chosen to ignore hi-rez audio, it now has the opportunity to re-introduce and rebrand hi-res to the masses and reap the profits.

Audiophiles will still be a rare breed and the high-end audio industry will still be a niche, quirky little fraction in its own little corner of the world. But the masses will grow accustomed to a slightly higher baseline for fidelity. And in time that will grow, along with their receptiveness towards high-resolution audio. A culturally induced higher baseline for sonic quality means greater demand for high-end audio and more business for manufacturers, retailers, and reviewers . . . means survival and longevity for the industry.

Fidelity will always take a backseat to other features when attracting subscribers to streaming services, but it will still have taken a monumental leap in visibility. Apple could very well be the much-needed catalyst that the high-end audio industry needs.

Where Apple goes, the rest of the world usually follows. Let's hope that Apple takes a step in the direction of high-resolution audio.

COMMENTS
drblank's picture

and offered three tiers 1 that's free and advertisement based, 2 that's Lossy based, and 3 Lossless/MQA based, then it would target the three big diverse markets.

I think if Apple bought Tidal and kept their MQA initiative, it might help get BMG and Sony to join Warner and release MQA based content because it appears to be the perfect solution for streaming Hi Res content due to small file sizes.

Do I think people are going to have a problem integrating with these 3rd party players? NO. I don't think Roon users or users of other music players will have anything to worry about since most of these 3rd party players are integrating with Apple Music, so I don't think those people have anything to worry about. Apple knows that ITunes app doesn't do everything that other 3rd party players do, so until they add all of the same functionality, they'll still play with others.

I just hope they don't drag a bunch of people like JayZ into becoming Apple employees like they got suckered into hiring Iovine and Dre, those two are useless and actually just a waste of money.

The problem with these streaming services and even digital downloads is they simply aren't a high profit business and since Apple doesn't rely on revenue/profits from their streaming services/digital downloads, they can absorb any losses much easier and longer than Spotify, Tidal, etc. can do on their own.

Does anyone know how much of Warner's catalog is actually available in MQA? It would be great if there was a way to tell just to see how fast MQA content is coming along.

Bromo33333's picture

"1 that's free and advertisement based, 2 that's Lossy based, and 3 Lossless/MQA based, then it would target the three big diverse markets."

Apple hates paying royalties. I suspect they *might* have 2 tiers of quality, both paid (256kbps, and maybe CD-level ALAC) and *maybe* 24/96 downloads. I think MQA would die on the vine because of the "royalty" angle.

Apple doesn't like the "free" tier or they would offer one. Likewise for TIDAL, too.

drblank's picture

it was called Apple Radio, that was before they bought out Beats. It was kind of like Pandora, I was using it occasionally. It wasn't THAT bad for free. What the user would do is pick an artist and then they would generate content based on that artist's music style and you could rate each song just like Pandora. If you didn't have iTunes Match, then it had advertisements. If you had ITunes Match, then it didn't have advertisements. If you had ITunes Match, then it would sync up with your catalog and you could stream to any device and it only cost $25 a year. If you had Lossless in your catalog, it would stream the AAC version to your other devices.

Right now, they still have iTunes Match, but you are limited to what you have in your personal catalog and they just stream AAC to your other devices, but you can still listen to Lossless or whatever format is on your main computer. I'm using it now, but they did get rid of the "Free" Apple Radio, which wasn't that bad for something that was free. It was OK, but it wasn't what I would refer to as Lossless or Lossless with MQA quality.

Warner is signed up for MQA, but BMG and Sony are still not signed on yet. If you do some more research on MQA, it's being adopted by more than just Tidal, but yeah, it's still in it's infancy. But from reading about it, it'll be similar to getting something similar to SACD quality on a streaming service as long as you have an MQA DAC or they can embed the MQA decoder in the player app and you have a 24/192 DAC.

I believe Apple was looking at Lossless, but I think they are just being conservative until they figure out when the best time and method to use.

The thing is that streaming services is still relatively new and all of these companies are trying to figure out what works the best, what pricing model will yield profitability, but right now, none of them are profitable. Spotify, Tidal, Apple, etc. are all losing money right now and I believe it's because they simply aren't charging enough monthly rates to become profitable. I don't know if they are going to be forced to raise prices and retain the number of users, but I believe, they will HAVE to do that and still be profitable, even if it's still a low margin business.

FYI, Apple never really intended to make a lot of money from ITunes content, as it was more for just a convenient and legal way to get content inexpensively.

And FREE? Um, Apple has iTunes University and Podcasts which are free, so they really don't mind free. They also give away free s/w they used to charge for. Remember iLife and IWork apps? Those are now free, so are OS updates. :-) There are lots of 3rd party apps for IOS and OS X that are free, but that's based on what the developer wants to charge since they have in app purchases or in app advertisements.

drblank's picture

since they owed $5 Mil to one record label which they are getting or were sued for non payment of royalties.

Making a profit let alone breaking even in streaming music has been impossible so far. Obviously these companies are not in business to lose money, so they have to figure out what the real costs are and what pricing to charge that people will accept.

I think they are all charging too little to become a profitable business model.

MQA has just as much chance of dying as SACD. I thought SACD would have died a long time ago, but it hasn't and player s/w have to pay a royalty to decode DSD files. Right?

All of these companies have to figure out if there is a big enough market, and to figure out if they can break even or make some kind of profit to make it worth while doing.

Yeah, Apple's business model is largely based on hardware sales, but just like any well run business, if they do something like music streaming, they have to figure out a way to make a profit, even if it's small. But right now, no one is making an actual profit with streaming services, whether it's an ad based free OR a subscription based model. So, if Tidal, Spotify, Deezer, etc. can figure out how to make a profit, they either have to find a bigger company like an Apple OR, they will go out of business. It's just the nature of the beast. NetFlix's royalty model for movies is totally different than streaming music, which is why they can squeak out a profit.

darwinosx's picture

The music publishers don't like the free tier and I would not expect it to be around much longer.

darwinosx's picture

Apple isn't too interested in making much in the way of profits from streaming music. The entire point of having these offerings is to sell hardware.

brenro's picture

This would be the end of my Tidal subscription.

doak's picture

Call me pessimist, maybe realist, I think that if Apple acquires TIDAL it will be MAINLY to quash their competition. Apple, as usual, will play the game the way they see fit - as they have done in the past. This move may very well be a tremendous loss to the now seemingly bright future of high quality streaming and a BIG setback to high resolution music streaming.

Bromo33333's picture

It might be a "defensive move" on Apple's part - to eliminate competition. They also might want to grab and hold profitable for-pay customers.

I'd say that Apple always looks to meximize their profits. I don't think that anyone knows if apple makes money at streaming or not - but for sure given their scale, if they can hold onto people paying $20/mo for streaming - even at high quality - Apple might want to add a higher tier and expand that aspect to the greater market.

drblank's picture

is profitable at streaming music, they are with digital download sales, but streaming is different.

They are dumping money in marketing, which is always a big overhead cost until they reach that breakeven point, which no one knows what that actually is. Obviously, Apple has something over 800 Million iTunes account holders, I think they might have gone past that number, but whatever it is, they have a TON of iTunes account holders that eventually will go to streaming. Streaming is still new to the market and anytime there is a drastic change, it takes 10 years to catch on where it's the new "norm".

As far as MQA is concerned, Apple could probably help with the encoding process since they do have market penetration in most Mastering Studios and I think it's going to take a Herculean effort to convert content to MQA, especially if they can get the major labels to adopt MQA, but there is some movement in that direction.

miguelito's picture

Plus possibly the looks of buying a streaming service "owned by artists". I give Apple a low probability of bothering with higher resolution, a zero probability of bothering with MQA, and a high probability of this being a way to buy street-cred (if that's possible) and effectively remove exclusive deals on the TIDAL side.

darwinosx's picture

Tidal is not remotely competition for Apple.

Don Ho's picture

This will be the Death Knell for Pono. (Unless they make some serious changes to their Business Model). The Niche market will shrink to Nil.

www.ponosucks.com

drblank's picture

emerged. Not enough people are buying music players, IPod sales slide is proof of that.

markbrauer's picture

before Apple would ever get one thin dime from me.

drblank's picture

these streaming music companies can't make a profit to stay in business, so they are constantly trying to find rich investors dumb enough to give them money, but at some point, they run out of suckers to give them money because they haven't figured out how to earn a profit to help pay back the investors that want their money back with some interest for making the investment..

So, over time, companies like Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, etc. will all either have to start charging a lot more for their services (which will likely result in lost subscribers), find an "APPLE" that has tons of cash that could buy them out, OR they will shut their doors. It's simple math.

Who are the companies that are actually big enough to be viable candidates to buy one of these streaming services? Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, maybe Samsung. Sorry to pee on your Cheerios, but Apple's probably the best one to go with. They do offer their current Apple Music to Android and Windows, so they are offering it to other platforms.

It's just a matter of doing HiRes that makes sense that can be done affordably and still at least break even or squeeze out a minimal profit. Apple's not apposed to running iTunes Music or their App stores at a 30% GP with 5% Net Profit margin, which is about the maximum they can actually make and that's not unreasonable profit margin. They only run their business at a 40% GP and a 20% Net Profit, which is how any tech company should be managed.

Apple isn't as evil as you THINK they are. They do get a lot of unwarranted bad publicity because they are a successful company that knows how to run a profitable business. And? What's wrong with being successful? Is being successful a bad thing? They create a ton of jobs worldwide between their own company and all of their business partners. Creating jobs is a good thing.

markbrauer's picture

Sorry, but I go way back with Apple. I worked at a company that had IBM PCs early on, the real ones from IBM. I had the very first IBM PC with a hard drive in the company - 10 MB - huge in the days of 360k floppys. Apple had a foothold in some places and therefore certain things were in Apple format - most notably QuickTime videos, which I found valuable in doing my job. Well, installing Quicktime caused nothing but problems. Screwed up my PC. Left all sorts of artifacts that were hard to eradicate to the point of re-installing the OS. And I had to install it ( and get rid of it) a number of times because of content that I needed to watch.

There were other examples of Apple software that was problematic too, but QuickTime was the worst. I got the early impression that Apple wanted me to buy their equipment, and only their equipment, and if I didn't they would try to make me sorry.

Later on, on my own PC clone, I made the mistake of installing iTunes. It immediately tried to take over all "media" on my computer and decided how I should have things organized. All I wanted to do was to buy some music. I was shocked and scared that it caused permanent damage and deleted it ASAP. (Based on stuff I read on the WEB, to this day even many Apple aficionados seem to agree that iTunes is bad, screwing up your system, bordering on malware.) I still find that I am locked out of many things because I refuse to run iTunes. Apple insists that I use their software and follow their rules to partake.

For a while I worked at a local walk-in photo processing lab and customers with Apples would constantly bring in CDs filled with thumbnail photo files - this never happened with PC users. We obviously could not print a a quality 4X6 from a 40X60 pixel file. The customers had used whatever interface Apple provided and thought they were getting full resolution files. These were regular users (and a lot of them) who just wanted prints, and Apple confused the hell out of them as to where their full resolution files actually were. I could not blame them as even though I had many years experience with computers, PCs to minis to mainframes, the Apple MAC in the photo lab always confused me as to where it was placing my files. I always had the feeling that if these customers had sent their photos to an Apple approved service they would have photos to look at today.

More recently I was blessed to have out-of-town grandchildren. My daughter-in-law is an Apple person. Apples FaceTIme is, of course, not compatible with anything else - you must have an Apple product to participate. Fortunately I was able to steer my family toward Google Hangouts and I am able to video chat with my grandchildren - no thanks to Apple.

I've also had many problems with iPhone photos and videos refusing to orient properly on industry standard platforms - one has go out of their way to edit/rotate them to view. Again, buy an Apple device our you are ostracized.

Then there's music. Apple requires you to run iTunes to do most anything. And "never on Android" is Apple's mantra. Again, they want you to buy an Apple product to participate. Apple's current music service refuses (even though invited) to work with Chromecast, the most open and universal platform out there.

So... here's what I would expect to happen if/when Apple takes over Tidal, based on my long term experience:
- Apple (or Apple approved) software and hardware will be needed to actually access the music files.
- Apple (or Apple approved) connectors will be required to interface with your current equipment - if that's possible at all.
- I wouldn't even be surprised if they came up with a new file format, not FLAC, MQA, MP3, etc, to force you to buy an Apple (or Apple approved) product to listen to your music. Throw out your DAC right now, its "obsolete".
- Airplay? The only way to play.

Apple is not an open system and they do not want open systems. Their whole soft infrastructure is a scheme to force people to buy Apple hardware. Even ATT, at the height of their monopoly, didn't force you to buy their phones to talk to your friends - and they were broken up by the government. Apple IS THE EVIL EMPIRE!

I can't believe that audiophiles, thinking people who care about music and the wonderful (open system) equipment used to reproduce it, fall for Apple's crap. Sure, a lot of them use Apple equipment to store/stream audio, but that's only because some clever and open-minded people have figured workarounds for the crippling policies Apple puts around audio. If it was up to Apple music would be compressed AAC all the way, after all it's been "mastered for iTunes" from 96/24 files. What could be better?

Thinking back, I'm changing my original statement - forget the thin dime - Apple is not getting even one lousy penny from me. Ever! 30 years of putting up with their crap is hard to forget.

drblank's picture

But getting back to AAC, that's an industry standard and it was SUPPOSED to replace MP3, but too many people are stuck in the 80's.

Mastered for ITunes, if done properly sounds better than anything with MP3, and the file sizes are smaller. That's a good thing. They created that software to get record labels to give Apple a better version for them to sell so that people that bought this better version would have a tough time when comparing to an actual CD. I tried that experiment and damned if I could tell the difference. It's exceptionally hard to tell, at least for the recordings I tried. Wouldn't you think that getting a less expensive AAC version that sounded pretty much identical to the CD version would be a good thing and it requires less space on your computers/smartphone? Isn't that the whole point of progress? That might be partly why Apple isn't going with Lossless yet. I think they have to see a big enough reason to offer it and right now, they are just sitting back and watching others go through their mistakes first.

As far as your claims, I'm sure some of it might be partly Apple's fault, but some of it might not be their fault, but without having seen what you're talking about first hand, I can't comment on what you say you experienced, but from my perspective, even though Apple isn't perfect, they are a lot further ahead than anyone else. And I've used computers running C/PM, DOS, Windows from first release all the way up to Windows 10), MacOS, OS 2, NexTstep, OS X since the late 70's and I've seen tons of problems. I'm glad Apple's in business, far less issues and I get things taken care of quickly. I can't really complain.

drblank's picture

When digital recording first came out, they were tracking at 16/48 or 16/44.1 and there is a TON of content that falls in that category. But that's what they were dealing with, so the need for Mastered for iTunes wasn't as important because they had to wait until more content was tracked and available at 24/96. Some have started to track at 24/192, but the majority of the recordings have been tracked and they STILL might be tracking at 24/96 unless they are tracking on analog tape. VERY little content is being tracked using DSD (other than people like Blue Coast and a few others), but the majority of studios I believe are still at 24/96, some might be going with 24/192, but these studios don't like HUGE files because they are dealing with lots of tracks in the beginning of the recording process. So, Apple wanted to help solve the dilemma of getting better sound quality to their customers and keeping small file sizes, which is why they came out with the Mastered for iTunes s/w and marketing to hopefully make a distinction that they had better versions because some of the record labels wanted to charge a slight premium for the Mastered for iTunes version because of the expense of creating a new version. Now, not all content is listed as Mastered for iTunes, I heard that a lot of content is mastered via the Mastered for iTunes versions, but that's just their standard method and they don't make any distinction, even though it went through that process, but it wouldn't surprise me if there is still a ton of older recordings that can't go through the process for the simple fact that it was originally recorded at 16 bit and I don't know what they are doing to make those sound better with AAC. But the issue is that Apple progressed and adopted the AAC standard because it was SUPPOSED to replace MP3, but unfortunately there are still a bunch of digital download sites stuck in 80's mentality and they haven't progressed. I think they are stupid, but that's their decision to sell a bigger file that doesn't sound any better and in some cases sounds worse.

It's hard for Apple to deal with a ton of record labels and how they create content to ensure some degree of consistency.

I think the perception is that Apple uses proprietary AAC format, but that's completely ignorant to think that way. AAC is supposed to be the replacement for MP3, and it's not Apple's fault that too many companies are stuck in 80's mentality and still use MP3. But these days I believe most players, regardless of what OS platform they are on, support AAC. If they don't, then I would stay clear away from using that player since it's probably so outdated, it's not worth using. AAC was developed by several companies it's just that Apple adopted it first and developed that mastering software so they could leverage 24/96 files to improve the sound quality for 16 Bit. Nothing wrong with that. I just wish every album could take advantage of it, but obviously older 16 Bit digital recordings can't. At least I haven't read that they can, it's more for later 24/96 recordings.

Crippling policies? What crippling policies are you referring to? Some of Apple's policies with regards to content is an Apple policy, but some of them are actually the record label policies, so be careful who you blame.

Apple is the number one platform used in production studios and mastering studios. That's fact. Apple has been doing a lot for the music industry which is why you see a lot of artists using them on stage. Apple is trying to figure out what makes the most sense to providing content to the masses since they are one of the largest sellers of digital music and now it's dealing with streaming music and now they are dealing with the issues surrounding that. The music industry had been running wild for many years and they have been wrestling with format wars long before Apple was even a company. Remember when records were released on 8 track, cassette, reel to reel, album, 45, etc. etc.? The music industry is confused and it's gotten worse with all of these different digital formats, compression methods, etc. etc. and everyone's just trying to figure it all out and I see Apple stuck in the middle trying to make sense of it, just like everyone else.

brenro's picture

Not sure where you're getting this. All the big studios I'm familiar with use Avid Pro Tools on their DAW's. Even those that use Apple computers choose Logic over Apple software.

John Atkinson's picture
brenro wrote:
All the big studios I'm familiar with use Avid Pro Tools on their DAW's.

Almost all the studios I have worked at use ProTools running on Mac hardware. The exceptions are those using Merging Technologies on PCs.

brenro wrote:
Even those that use Apple computers choose Logic over Apple software.

Logic Pro was acquired by Apple in 2002.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

brenro's picture

I stand corrected

drblank's picture

Why doesn't Apple support FLAC in ITunes? Probably because they developed ALAC, which is their version of what FLAC does, but the problem with FLAC is whomever developed it didn't develop it so that it could support the full spec on an Apple. I think they limited it to 24/96, for whatever reason is anyone's guess, so Apple decided to develop their VERSION of Lossless Compression that's supposed to actually be better than FLAC or at least on par with FLAC.. ALAC will support up to 32/384. And there are converters to convert FLAC to ALAC. I know it just adds more confusion, but it's not necessarily APple's fault. yes, there are 3rd party players that will allow one to play FLAC files on a Mac without converting anything, but if you want to use a simple converter, it's a simple process to convert FLAC to ALAC.

Yeah, the format war is screwed up with audio content and for the time being, it's going to be a confusing issue. Why doesn't iTunes support DSD? I believe they don't want to pay money for the licensing when there is such a small number of people that actually use DSD. But there are 3rd party players that can do it, or you just simply convert to PCM and it sounds pretty much the same thing. DSD originally wasn't really meant for consumers, at least that's what I was told. It was originally just for the record labels to have a digital storage method because it would keep it as close as the original analog version because they wanted a method for achieving, and it's still a VERY small niche market of people releasing DSD files, so it just doesn't make a lot of sense to pay for licensing when only less than 1% of their users are actually going to use it. So, they let 3rd party players deal with it and many of the 3rd party players can deal with DSD files on a Mac. But how many people actually collect DSD? The file sizes are just ridiculously big and there really is hardly any content put on the market in DSD format. I'm surprised it's still around. Heck, even Meridian for the longest time didn't support DSD and even a lot of the DAC mfg didn't care about DSD. Is it really that much better for the amount of storage that it takes up? I played around with it and I listened and compared DSD to PCM conversions and I couldn't tell the difference, so for me, I think it's a waste to time dealing with DSD. I think someone needs to be in a soundproof studio with pristine room acoustics and a lot of time on their hands to really tell if there is an actual difference. most consumers don't listen to music in a sound proof room with pristine room acoustics. so the ambient noise floor and ambient reverb of the room is probably too much to even tell the difference between DSD and a PCM conversion from DSD.

From what I've read, as far as the future for streaming audio, I think MQA is probably the best bet, but it's still a long ways off from being relevant to the average consumer. Content just isn't available, which is the whole point of adopting a new format. So, Warner was the first to jump on that bandwagon, but they need the other majors and then a way to speed up the process.

The other factor that gets in the way is there is a lot of content that people simply don't listen to or even purchase. So it makes little sense to offer it in a new format.

How would you like to have to pay a thousand bucks or more to re-master or convert old content that's only going to generate $100 or less in actual revenue? doest that make sense? How many recordings fall into that category? More than we think. It would be interesting to find out what content in these huge digital libraries where no one streams or even purchases it, yet it's sitting in some digital library that's been re-mastered or re-converted several times just because someone wants a different version. Oh well, not my problem.

mtymous1's picture
drblank wrote:

...the problem with FLAC is whomever developed it didn't develop it so that it could support the full spec on an Apple. I think they limited it to 24/96... ALAC will support up to 32/384.

I gotta ask - what source is your wealth of misinformation? The "genius" bar?!?

And while I'm at it, no crApple natively supports frequencies above 192 kHz -- and even those models are a limited few:

•MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2013) and later
•MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013) and later
•Mac Pro (Late 2013)
•iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2014)
•Mac mini (Late 2014)

(Straight from the horse's a$$ at:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202730)

So while it's true that ALAC does 32/384, no crApple hardware can "support the full spec," as you put it.

Some comments about MQA... I just don't see AAPL embracing a proprietary tech - hell they don't even support DLNA! Besides, MQA-loyals can't seem to grasp the fact that the R&D focus is about converting EXISTING digital sources - NOT applying their proprietary techniques to the analog masters. So it's an incremental add to back-end processing of the source file, as opposed to a proprietary delivery stream that assures provenance.

(I *STILL* don't get why this tech-du-jour has any steam. Seems futile to me.)

darwinosx's picture

Calling Apple by a childish name means you get no credibility.

mtymous1's picture

...whose moniker contains "OSX" and has peppered the comments with single-line, non sequitur postings.

drblank's picture

Why doesn't Apple support FLAC in ITunes? Probably because they developed ALAC, which is their version of what FLAC does, but the problem with FLAC is whomever developed it didn't develop it so that it could support the full spec on an Apple. I think they limited it to 24/96, for whatever reason is anyone's guess, so Apple decided to develop their VERSION of Lossless Compression that's supposed to actually be better than FLAC or at least on par with FLAC.. ALAC will support up to 32/384. And there are converters to convert FLAC to ALAC. I know it just adds more confusion, but it's not necessarily APple's fault. yes, there are 3rd party players that will allow one to play FLAC files on a Mac without converting anything, but if you want to use a simple converter, it's a simple process to convert FLAC to ALAC.

Yeah, the format war is screwed up with audio content and for the time being, it's going to be a confusing issue. Why doesn't iTunes support DSD? I believe they don't want to pay money for the licensing when there is such a small number of people that actually use DSD. But there are 3rd party players that can do it, or you just simply convert to PCM and it sounds pretty much the same thing. DSD originally wasn't really meant for consumers, at least that's what I was told. It was originally just for the record labels to have a digital storage method because it would keep it as close as the original analog version because they wanted a method for achieving, and it's still a VERY small niche market of people releasing DSD files, so it just doesn't make a lot of sense to pay for licensing when only less than 1% of their users are actually going to use it. So, they let 3rd party players deal with it and many of the 3rd party players can deal with DSD files on a Mac. But how many people actually collect DSD? The file sizes are just ridiculously big and there really is hardly any content put on the market in DSD format. I'm surprised it's still around. Heck, even Meridian for the longest time didn't support DSD and even a lot of the DAC mfg didn't care about DSD. Is it really that much better for the amount of storage that it takes up? I played around with it and I listened and compared DSD to PCM conversions and I couldn't tell the difference, so for me, I think it's a waste to time dealing with DSD. I think someone needs to be in a soundproof studio with pristine room acoustics and a lot of time on their hands to really tell if there is an actual difference. most consumers don't listen to music in a sound proof room with pristine room acoustics. so the ambient noise floor and ambient reverb of the room is probably too much to even tell the difference between DSD and a PCM conversion from DSD.

From what I've read, as far as the future for streaming audio, I think MQA is probably the best bet, but it's still a long ways off from being relevant to the average consumer. Content just isn't available, which is the whole point of adopting a new format. So, Warner was the first to jump on that bandwagon, but they need the other majors and then a way to speed up the process.

The other factor that gets in the way is there is a lot of content that people simply don't listen to or even purchase. So it makes little sense to offer it in a new format.

How would you like to have to pay a thousand bucks or more to re-master or convert old content that's only going to generate $100 or less in actual revenue? doest that make sense? How many recordings fall into that category? More than we think. It would be interesting to find out what content in these huge digital libraries where no one streams or even purchases it, yet it's sitting in some digital library that's been re-mastered or re-converted several times just because someone wants a different version. Oh well, not my problem.

monetschemist's picture

FLAC will support word lengths up to 32 bits and sample rates up to 655350 Hz. See the web site

https://xiph.org/flac/faq.html

According to Wikipedia, ALAC only goes up to 384kHz

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Lossless

It was invented in 2004 proprietary until 2011. Too bad they didn't just adopt FLAC (which has been around since 2001).

drblank's picture

It's because iTunes wants to put all music content in nice and neat folders so the app can get access to it so it's not constantly searching around. It typically does that the first time to locate all of your content and put things in a nice and orderly folder setup. Since I'm not at your computer while it's doing what it's doing, then I can't tell you anymore than that. It also could be a certain setting you had that might be doing something because they have a couple of different options to choose from in their Preferences section, so maybe you just had a certain setting that should have been changed. But Apple isn't snooping around and sending them anything unless you opt in for that and it's done more on an anonymous basis. They do like to keep track of what you purchased, so it's possible that if you changed any metadata from something you purchased through ITunes, it could confuse it a little, that's possible. They keep track of what you purchased so it you need to redownload something you purchased, they keep track of that so you can replace accidental deleted tracks, etc. Lots of people have extremely bad habits when it comes to organizing their content and documents. So off the top of my head, maybe that's what you were experiencing, but Apple's not scanning your personal data and sending it back to Apple. They aren't assholes like that, so I think you are being paranoid. Any data that is sent back to Apple is done so in an anonymous manner unless you are sending some communication to their tech support to troubleshoot something while you have an open trouble ticket, but they are still just gathering certain data that's shouldn't be of personal nature.

dalethorn's picture

I've seen dedicated Apple users throw their Macs against a wall. I could tell so many stories. I have iTunes on a WinXP PC, and on a Macbook 12 inch. Apple very tightly controls what has been written to your iTunes "library" - i.e. not the music tracks (unless DRM'd), but the encoded files that say what you're supposed to have, regardless of where you got it, as long as you added the files to iTunes. If something changes, then iTunes can do some really unexpected things. For example, my 2500 video clips on my iPhone have no thumbnails, because iTunes killed them. I can delete all of them and reload them, but that works only until the next session. I manage all of my "songs and videos" manually.

Photos are even more fun. The only way I can put 3000 photos on the phone and find one is to make sure that the files are written to the object folder (the folder iTunes reads from) in alphabetic sequence, so that the date and time that each file is written is the same sequence as the alphabetic order. And the only way I've found to assure that is to create the folder on a thumb drive and stream the files to that folder with a DOS copy command. Windows and Apple file managers cannot do that.

But beware of thumb drives on an Apple computer if they contain thousands of files - Apple writes so many "temp" files to the thumb drive that it will lock up and die if the thumb drive isn't fast enough. Deleting those temp files takes a very long time after I get the thumb drive back to the PC. Apple, like Hewlett-Packard, write some of the world's worst software.

darwinosx's picture

Your comment on thumb drives is completely and utterly wrong.
DOS copy command? Really? Who does that?
Oh maybe the same people who use the Apple terminal to write Unix commands that can do absolutely the same thing.
Except nobody bothers to do either as it is completely unnecessary.

dalethorn's picture

Of course it's not wrong. You're saying that simple commands that a 5 year old can do are beyond you? Pity! And so you would like others here to NOT have their photos alphabetized? That makes you Mordac (a la Dilbert), the Preventer of Information Services. You'd fit in good at the Post Office.

darwinosx's picture

I've read a lot of anti-Apple diatribes over the years but that was probably the worst informed and thats saying something.
Two paragraphs on your issues with Quicktime on an IBM PC from mamy years ago...OK...
You don't have to use iTunes to manage music on Macs or iOS devices. There are many other apps that can do that who are doing quite well selling their offerings. This is obvious and well known.
As to files..the apps those customers used determined where their files are and of what type not "APPLE".
I have no idea what you are talking about with iPhone photos and your difficulties with them. I certainly has nothing to do with it being an Apple device and if you hate Apple so much why do you have an iPhone.
Why should FaceTime make their tools like FaceTime work on other platforms? Our of the kindness of their hearts? iMessage and FaceTime are a competitive advantage for Apple and cost a lot of money and time to develop and enhance. It makes no sense at all to provide them free on other platforms especially since it would cost them a lot of money to do so.
Google provides free apps on multiple platforms but they are an ad company and the only reason they do this is to collect data about what you do with their tools to sell to advertisers. No thanks.
Apple Music is on Android...oops..the previous poster to you even pointed that out.
Apple Music running on Chromecast Audio has nothing to do with Apple. It is up to Google to do that. You are misinformed. Apple Music is on Sonos and quite a few other platforms so I would say Google doesn't want the competition on Chromecast audio unless they can control it and access user data.
I did get a good laugh that you think Chromecast is the most open and "universal" system out there. It is quite closed in many ways.
Apple uses open formats for music. This is well known and obvious.
Apple play is far from the only way to play from Apple music. It is merely one of many options like bluetooth for example. This is well know and obvious.
Once again Apple music plays from a wide variety of devices. You are totally wrong about this.
Evil empire...hoo boy...off the deep end now..
AAC is one method of providing iTunes music and Mastered for iTunes is something else. This is well known and obvious.
Audiophiles and equipment use Apple products to a great extent and they don't have to figure out work arounds. You really need to do some research. There is a reason "Macs and DACs are such a well know combination.

dalethorn's picture

That's a huge amount of text to say nothing. What works works. Do some observing and less arguing with yourself, and you could be productive too.

Anton's picture

I see Apple eating Tidal as being similar to when cell phone providers merge. Nothing good will come of it.

monetschemist's picture

Though I have to say that "before I saw the light" Apple got several of my thin dimes. Oh well, I know better now.

Ms. Dagdagan, I think you got this one wrong. It's probably because you think Apple is a pretty cool company with pretty cool products. But generally speaking the world is not well-served by monopolistic behaviour; and Apple has regularly shown us that it is capable of making bad decisions that make us all unhappy (think having to run iTunes to buy music from the Apple store when every other download service is happy to let you use a plain old web interface).

darwinosx's picture

Apple is not remotely a monopoly with any of its products.

monetschemist's picture

I said "monopolistic behaviour". But getting to your claim:

According to this site http://www.statista.com/topics/1386/digital-music/ iTunes has 64% of the "market share for paid digital music downloads", followed by Amazon at 16%, Google Play at 5%, with others making up the remaining 15%.

According to this site http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/economics/monopoly-behaviour-of-firms-characteristics-occurrence-and-other-details/32789/

"Some governments define a monopoly as a firm that has 25% or more of the market and a dominant monopoly, when a firm has a 40% share of the market.

darwinosx's picture

I suppose you can find a quote on the internet to support anything.
40% and 65% are not remotely monopolistic. Try bringing an anti-trust suit with that and you will be laughed out of court.
Downloadable looks to refer to purchased and downloaded music and not streaming.
Most such estimates are educated guesses anyway because none of the firms involved release their actual numbers.
Last time I checked the estimates are that Spotify is still millions of people ahead in streaming.

monetschemist's picture

... you clearly know a lot about monopolies and bringing lawsuits against monopolistic companies. I defer to your superior knowledge.

dalethorn's picture

If need be I think I could dig up lots and lots of actions by Apple to suppress competition. They are legend at that. One of the nifty tricks that corporations use to suppress competition is "shelf stuffing", i.e. a dozen flavors of the same product, backed by advertising, sure to keep the small business products off of those shelves. The U.S. has acted to break up monopolies in the past, but they don't make much of an effort today.

jblackhall's picture

I'm sure this sounds like excellent news, but only if you're a user of Apple products like the iPhone. If you don't, you will be completely alienated from the service. If not discretely so in the short term, then definitely so in the long term through lack of continued support.

drblank's picture

You don't have to be an Apple user to use Apple Music, You can be a Windows or Android user. Here's a link to Apple Music app for Android.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.apple.android.music&hl=en

monetschemist's picture

But those of us who use Linux (other than Android) don't get the "benefit" of Apple Music.

This is a typical example of the kind of behaviour on Apple's part that is bad. If you buy your music from Amazon or 7digital or ... all you need is your browser. If you buy it from Apple you need to download iTunes and Bonjour and QuickTime and...

dalethorn's picture

I always keep a cheap PC handy to convert any purchased music to a generic format, so there are no long-term issues with different platforms.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

I must admit, since I don't buy music online and have a gratis subscription to Tidal, that I was blissfully unaware of what the fuss over Apple's practices is all about until now. On July 6, however, I read this article in Seattle Times:
http://www.seattletimes.com/business/you-might-be-overpaying-for-streaming-music/?utm_source=The+Seattle+Times&utm_campaign=480580062e-Morning_Brief_7_06_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5beb38b61e-480580062e-121871493
and begin to understand what's going on.

When I became an Apple user, Apple was the renegade upstart fighting against the Evil Empire, i.e. Microsoft. Now, however, I can understand why many perceive Apple as the enemy. Reading how it forces extra fees on people and pushes competing services off its platform is deeply disturbing.

Given the solid arguments in many of these posts, I'm wondering if Jana has rethought her position and has additional thoughts to share.

darwinosx's picture

Again....Apple Music is on Android and iTunes is on Widows and there are other ways to consume Apple Music. This is not rocket science.

monetschemist's picture

... in the Google Play store. A rating of 3.3 (vs a 4.5 for Spotify) based on 81,071 reviews. Sounds like it's better to stick with Spotify.

I tried to run it on my desktop. Guess what? I need iTunes (not available for my Linux desktop). Spotify has a web player and a Linux client. Tidal has a web player that runs on Linux (says so on the system requirements page).

darwinosx's picture

You should really try those sort of comments on someone who is unfamiliar with the subject.
It is well known that Apple Music has been slammed in the Google Play stores because of Android users whose fee fees are hurt because Apple music exists on android. Google it.
I already said I have paid subscriptions to Tidal, Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora. I am dropping Spotify because I have never liked the interface and it has nothing to offer me over the others.
I don't care, at all, what people like or think is better. I never said anything about that. Straw man argument.
I'm an IT Enterprise Architect and have worked for some off the biggest and best known companies in the world. i have also run mobile and iOS development teams at those companies. I am quite familiar with Linux as well
What runs on the Linux desktop is of no consequence to anyone. It is a rounding error.
If you know Linux you also know there are way to run iTunes on Linux. Which you don't mention.
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/top-6-ways-get-itunes-experience-linux/
Spotifys web player only runs at 320k on Google Chrome. A browser that was created from webkit which was open sourced to the world by.....Apple. Who cares about browser clients anyway? Most people run from their smartphone or tablet or Windows or Mac clients. It doesn't matter.
Tidal runs like a dog on Linux and is mostly unsupported and most people use the tidal plug-in to Tomahawk for that reason. Oops.

monetschemist's picture

I can't imagine that there could be any reason for Apple Music to perform poorly on Android. Al those people must be lying, you're right.

And an Enterprise Architect! Wow. That makes you highly qualified to dismiss small Linux share of market, because after all it's only 50% of that of Windows 8 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems).

And running stuff under Wine, well who cares if that's a generally crappy experience anyway? The comment on the site you mention

"Even if iTunes isn’t available in Linux as a native application, you can still try to get it to work under WINE or PlayOnLinux. These pieces of software try to add a compatibility layer so that Windows applications work on Linux, but the results are far from perfect.

is just reminding us Linux users that we get what we deserve.

And of course audiophiles, who have equipment whose sales are lost in the noise compared to the big manufacturers like Sony or Pioneer suffer from the same delusion. Who cares about us when our favourite manufacturers only shift 0,0001% of the total sales in A/V gear? And rightly so!

I really must beg your pardon for trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

darwinosx's picture

Prove it because I can cite many cases of the opposite.

jblackhall's picture

Sorry I don't understand what you're asking us to prove? (Literally. I can't tell what response your reply is directed toward.)

dalethorn's picture

Admit nothing, deny everything, demand proof, then refuse to accept it.

Archimago's picture

If this happens, with all the handwringig about lossless, what chance would MQA have? Essentially none.

Proprietary CODEC, unsupported by any of Apple's devices, few actual DACs, questionable technical merits which will be obvious to the Apple engineers.

IMO if you think MQA would be good for audio, this is bad news.

drblank's picture

MQA is probably the best way for streaming Lossless and being able to get something that's HOPEFULLY closer to the original master.

I don't know how much Meridian charges for MQA codecs for software players. Yeah, it's in it's infancy, but from what I've read, its got the best chance of high res streaming audio.

The reason why there are limited number of MQA DACs is because there's not much content but Warner has signed up to deliver their catalog and it just takes time to release it. If they can get BMG and Sony to support it, then that's a good sign it will last.

If Apple licensed the Codec and stuck it inside of their music players, then you would only need a 24/192 DAC. Those are getting cheap enough for smartphones and computers. I don't know what the capacities of their current DACs are, but I believe they can do 24/96, maybe they are planning on using 24/192 DACs for future models.

Either way, MQA is still very new and it takes time for it to become a standard, but so far, they are making some headway. $300 for a USB DAC isn't that much, heck, us 'audiophiles" spend more than that on a cable. But since integrated 24/192 DAC headphones and earbuds are starting to come out, so maybe we'll just have to plunk down some money on those to hear MQA based Lossless on an iPhone. But look at it this way, a lot of us use a computer to connect to a stereo and if they paid for the MQA license to embed the codec in the player, then all we need is our current 24/192 DAC that's in our stereo, since I believe that's one option that they have.

Remember when DSD files started to come out? Most DACs didn't support DSD, but now, most do, or at least a lot of them do that are affordable, so it's just a matter of time.

Just because no current smartphones support MQA, doesn't mean that a future model won't. HTC showed a MQA smartphone at CES, and they do come out with new products all of the time. It's not like you are never going to buy a new computer, smartphone or tablet in the next few years. People replace their smartphones, tablets and computers more often than high end stereo systems.

Yeah, MQA if done properly is supposed to be more like SACD, but a lot less bandwidth to stream.

darwinosx's picture

I was thinking the same thing. If Apple were to implement MQA within their devices it would be a killer technology and competitive advantage.

tonykaz's picture

Dear Jana,
As a past "Member of the Trade", I admire your hope of saving our decaying Home Audio Industry which was born at a time when everyone owned a House and had a Job with Full Benefits including a Pension.
I'll not go political (much) but say that my activities supporting Bernie Sanders Movement is work being done to help our future generations have the wonderful benefits I and my wife & family enjoyed during the Post WW11 years when we had disposable income for Macintosh Tube Amps and Record Players.
Our youth today are harnessed with Education Debt., huge debt, enough to buy a house, for gods sake!
So, to save High-End Audio we need to free our youth from the burdens that enslave them. Make education & health care a Right like everyone in Europe has.
High-End's problem is a political problem: Business controls our Politics, it's not democratic.
Give our youth a vote and you solve Audio's problems.

I believe in you, keep up the good work.

Tony in Michigan

jimtavegia's picture

When over 50% of those attending public school could care less about learning, and now you want someone else to pay to send them to college so they can buy some Mac gear? What they do care about are their phones and texting their friends and watching YouTube videos. What they would do is buy more Beats and still live in the basement playing video games.

How is that people can't see there is no free lunch for anything. We will eventually have to stop printing money as soon those we owe it to will not accept anything but our gold. I am guessing that the reason college is expensive is that even the left likes to be paid big money as well.

Since Jobs has gone Apple has chosen the wrong path and this is another one as they will not support high rez for long if they did this. They have been following Microsoft's lead lately with bad software updates, so I do get it. The sellers of Tidal will be the only ones making out.

Anton's picture

You kids, today, off my lawn!

Gold? Humbug. Stock up on ammo, narcotics, antibiotics, and booze! Maybe NOS Telefunkens.

;-D

Kids the days.....

At least kids these days don't make up statistics like "50% of kids could care less..."

Plus, I bet kids these days can tell the difference between could and couldn't care less.

That's an "old people these days" thing to make up.

jimtavegia's picture

drinking the free Kool Aide you hand out. It is not made up as I see it every day I teach Math....I teach and they chose to learn, or, not so much. It is about effort and we don't even charge them money to walk in the door every day, and even pick them up to get them to school. Bring a pencil and paper to school? Forgedddaboutdit. Reality has passed you by. For all too many of these kids, if they do on their jobs what they do here, they will hear, "You're Fired", often. Never Trump, or Bernie, or Hillary.

Anton's picture

The local high schools teach through calculus and allow kids to go over to the college for math beyond that if they want.

They leave with more math in their heads than anything I ever saw when I was a yoot walking to school uphill both ways in blizzards.

if you teach math, then you know the value of 'provable' statements. Hit me with a proof of this 50% stuff, and keep in mind that the plural of anecdote is not data!

Smart kids are literally pouring out of our schools.

Guess which modern social critic hit us with this pablum: "The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."

I like our schools' teachers and can't imagine one who would take the time to tell me about "50% of the kids could care less....blah blah blah....free Kool Aid...blah blah blah."

Disdain for one's pupils is a great sign for how to know when to change life paths.

jimtavegia's picture

My generation did all of that math with no calculator as it was not invented yet, all with a Ticondergoa #2 and with a slide rule no less. Today's kids need a TI-84+ and they are not doing more work than we did, but much less.Today's kids and/or their parents won't even invest $18 in a TI-30XS Multi-View, which is a remarkable tool. Spend $500 on a phone...no problem. My HS classes had no one left behind because we were all required to do it and homework, which very few teachers give out anymore as it won't get done, except in AP classes, the 50% you only care about.

Disdain? I am 69 and when I could be sitting at home doing nothing I choose to make a difference when no one under 40 is doing what I do. This is my Missionary work. When YOU don't understand the problem, please don't comment on things of which you know little or nothing.

I don't consider it an issue when 12-16 year old students cannot do 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade math problems to be "anecdotal". I guess if I had said 49% or 51% it would not be an issue for you? The FACTS are what they are. For the bottom 50% of students, their real interests are what they are. It is not academics.

It wasn't even 20 years ago at a large university near where we lived which stated in the news that 38% of all freshmen were taking remedial Math and English (high school level) courses as they were not ready for college level material. Why should the University care as $300 an hour for a course is still real money, isn't it? It is often way more than that now. In college it is about the money and enrollment numbers. It is big business. College drop out numbers are quite large.

I urge you to watch the opening 10 minutes of the old movie, "The Paper Chase" with John Houseman, which I show to all my classes the first day of school to show them what college life and classes are like and what happens when you come unprepared for class. Now that a year at Harvard Law is what, $85K a year, I'll bet it still happens.

You are so out of touch with the real world it is unbelievable to me. You might try and get out more. Reality does elude Bernie supporters. There is no free lunch. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. One can pursue it, or I guess just wait for your government to provide it. Many of us are sick of that ideology. How about we talk about EQUAL EFFORT for once? The problems we face are about effort. Some do have to work harder than others, but so what? Hard word is not a bad thing. Laziness is a very bad thing.

There are 100,000 people sitting in Giant's Stadium on Sundays in the fall watching 100 people play football, and that pretty much represents the world...100 people really doing something while thousands pay and watch, while others sit at home wait for an invitation. It is time for many young people to put down their phones and get in the game.

Anton's picture

Time to stop teaching if that's your interpretation. Bernie? really? That's just a sign of hardening of the brain arteries.

If you want to stereotype, perhaps you should switch over to Bible class with that sort of closed minded thoughts.

You and Socrates, "Kids these days..."

The aging of America must be creating a set of certain mentality folks who look at the end of their time on earth who want to inflict their unhappiness on others.

We have a bright future, maybe just get out of the way.

drblank's picture

have put in. Who knows how much JayZ and the others have dumped into Tidal after they spent $56 Mil on the initial purchase. Who knows how much they'll actually get for the company. Until they sell it, they have to dump money into it. I doubt Apple is going to pay them a ton of money since they aren't profitable. When Apple bought Beats, the Beats headphone division was making lots of profits. Yeah, I wasn't a fan of the buyout, but it is what it is, but hopefully Apple will buy Tidal if they are up for sale and HOPEFULLY they'll continue the efforts and make MQA successful, they have a better chance than anyone else.

As far as your assessment, you are correct in the state of affairs of kids going through the education system, blame the rapper/HiHop community for promoting that mentality. THat's where I think it where they get the idea of not giving a rip about an education since these rappers have proven that they can be millionaires without an education in anything, including music.

What wrong path did Apple choose? Streaming AAC? The way they master for AAC has improved and it's a lot better than it was originally since they are telling record labels to start with 24/96 and use their Mastered for iTunes software and the end result, if done properly is not THAT bad for a small file size for the average person.

Remember, the masses don't have the money or have an interest in high end audio.

Apple software updates got fixed very quickly. So it doesn't take them more than a year to fix a software bug like Microsoft. All Windows 10 was is Beta software and it takes Microsoft a LONG time to fix their bugs. Apple's bugs are generally fixed fairly quickly. Typically it only takes a minimal amount of time. There Error 53 bugs were fixed in only a couple of weeks. What do you expect? Perfect software? Yeah, right. NO software company releases a new OS and doesn't have bugs. Bugs are inherent and will always be there, it's just a matter of how quickly they can fix them. I think you putting unrealistic expectations for Apple.

Until Apple makes an announcement, we don't know what they are planning. HiRes for streaming using MQA is too new and you can't just dive in heads first without really understanding how to do it where it makes good business sense. It's almost a good thing they didn't dive in heads first since MQA is probably the best method for streaming HiRes Lossless, but it takes time for content. Why announce something when there's no content?

It's possible that if Apple bought Tidal, that they could just keep it going until they got BMG and Sony to release MQA content and then to get their own internal DACs capable of playing MQA, etc. etc. That takes time and MONEY, which Apple has plenty of. We just have to sit and wait it out, but in the mean time Tidal, Deezer and a couple of others are the only ones doing Lossless, but time will tell how long they last and whether they get sucked up by the majors.

darwinosx's picture

I'm not a fan of beats either but the new headphones from them are significantly better than what Apple bought.

drblank's picture

have put in. Who knows how much JayZ and the others have dumped into Tidal after they spent $56 Mil on the initial purchase. Who knows how much they'll actually get for the company. Until they sell it, they have to dump money into it. I doubt Apple is going to pay them a ton of money since they aren't profitable. When Apple bought Beats, the Beats headphone division was making lots of profits. Yeah, I wasn't a fan of the buyout, but it is what it is, but hopefully Apple will buy Tidal if they are up for sale and HOPEFULLY they'll continue the efforts and make MQA successful, they have a better chance than anyone else.

As far as your assessment, you are correct in the state of affairs of kids going through the education system, blame the rapper/HiHop community for promoting that mentality. THat's where I think it where they get the idea of not giving a rip about an education since these rappers have proven that they can be millionaires without an education in anything, including music.

What wrong path did Apple choose? Streaming AAC? The way they master for AAC has improved and it's a lot better than it was originally since they are telling record labels to start with 24/96 and use their Mastered for iTunes software and the end result, if done properly is not THAT bad for a small file size for the average person.

Remember, the masses don't have the money or have an interest in high end audio.

Apple software updates got fixed very quickly. So it doesn't take them more than a year to fix a software bug like Microsoft. All Windows 10 was is Beta software and it takes Microsoft a LONG time to fix their bugs. Apple's bugs are generally fixed fairly quickly. Typically it only takes a minimal amount of time. There Error 53 bugs were fixed in only a couple of weeks. What do you expect? Perfect software? Yeah, right. NO software company releases a new OS and doesn't have bugs. Bugs are inherent and will always be there, it's just a matter of how quickly they can fix them. I think you putting unrealistic expectations for Apple.

Until Apple makes an announcement, we don't know what they are planning. HiRes for streaming using MQA is too new and you can't just dive in heads first without really understanding how to do it where it makes good business sense. It's almost a good thing they didn't dive in heads first since MQA is probably the best method for streaming HiRes Lossless, but it takes time for content. Why announce something when there's no content?

It's possible that if Apple bought Tidal, that they could just keep it going until they got BMG and Sony to release MQA content and then to get their own internal DACs capable of playing MQA, etc. etc. That takes time and MONEY, which Apple has plenty of. We just have to sit and wait it out, but in the mean time Tidal, Deezer and a couple of others are the only ones doing Lossless, but time will tell how long they last and whether they get sucked up by the majors.

tonykaz's picture

I see many ( most ? ) of our youth recklessly joyriding thru their initial learning years which will condemn them to serving Taco Bell food or cutting lawns when they need the education and experience they missed out on.

Our founding fathers were in their 30s when they wrote our Constitution, where did they get their Education?

I'm hopeful that there's hope remaining.

There are exceptions to the above: My 11 year old grandson begins College courses this coming Sept., he's always been Home Schooled, lives in Farm Country, his mom is one of his tutors, his younger brother and sister are also advancing rapidly.
Another granddaughter graduated ( with Honors ) from conventional High School this May, she's been in the Schools Medical Training program, she been working for a Podiatrist and will continue with her Medical Studies, we all will be doing everything we can to support her efforts, her younger brother wants to be a Buss Driver ( go figure ) .

You make an important point: Audio is not as attractive to youth as Video!

Tony in Michigan

jimtavegia's picture

This is my eleventh year in a second career at the prompting of some friends. I spent 6 years of my previous 7 teaching HS math and my last year 85 freshman failed 9th grade Coordinate Algebra. I tested all of them the first day of school, 100 single-digit questions in each of the disciplines of addition, subtraction, and multiplication. I gave them 5 minutes for each test and 90% of them could not finish the multiplication test, 50% could do the others, and over 50% could not complete even half of the multiplication sheet. I warned them that without these critical thinking skills that the year was going to be awful for them if they had to pick up a calculator for every little problem. I couldn't take it any more. Finding common denominators for fractions is nearly impossible for them.

In two classes I asked them to solve for X: 5X + 7 = 17 and no one could do it. Everyone could read, "The small, brown fox jumped the white, wooden gate". We spend every period reading and only one period doing math. When the kids go home they still read and type on social media endlessly, but do no math. Most can't even make change.

I went back to middle school to try and work on this and my new principal, who holds a doctorate, was on the same page. He gave me free reign to do what I needed to do. Most teachers in the school are half my age. I was given the most math deficient students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade for their second math class daily and by the end of the year over half of them were on grade level and most, could do over 70% of the multiplication test and half could do them all. It is not that they couldn't, it was that the curriculum did not stress it. We do the basic skills tests at least once per week for a grade.

I can also say that I asked the Advanced Placement Math Teacher to test her kids and only 70% could do all the multiplication sheet. She was surprised. The difference there is those kids are driven to succeed, do all their homework no matter how long it takes, and generally have two parents at home to push them. Discipline wise they are college ready and motivated. My students understand now that without mastering these basic skills high school math will be very hard for them and may keep them from earning a diploma. Paying for and going to summer school will be the only way to make up the Math credits they will not earn during the school year. Sadly they come out of elementary school unable to even attempt middle school math work and no knowledge of basic math skills.

When I watch the man on the street interviews of college age adults with Watters and Dice I am not surprised where we are today academically. When the U.S. ranks 28th of the developed nations in Math ability, I understand it as I live it every day. We are in a K-12 mess. Discipline and conscience are nearly totally missing today. We have lost our pride in wanting to do well in school.

tonykaz's picture

But I believe it's up to us, individually.
I look at those guys like Alexander Hamilton, pondering, how did they become sooooo well informed and skilled?
Back in the 1900s only a small few made it thru any sort of formal education ( my own mother never went beyond 4th. grade but had a successful career as an Opera Singer and Mother of 4 ).
My youth peer group build Ham Radio Stations out of scraped-out Television Sets, we built our LC network output impedance matching transformers out of stuff laying around, were we born with genetic codes that allowed us to do any of the various things that seems so impossible in todays day and age?
One of my grandsons lives on a working farm, at his young age he operates the Tractor, welds broken gates, has the responsibility of feeding the wandering Chickens & etc., he has no concept of Barn Building being impossible ( someone is building a barn every year, it seems), he can and does operate the small chainsaw ( the Big Farm Boss Saw is too heavy for him to operate ), I visit and admire.

I have the feeling that our X-Box kids are abandoned! I think you may love these youth but they've been put adrift and know it. Their best shot may end up being in the US Army and "becoming the best they can be", a sad thing to think or worse, believe!

A little person needs an Environment to develop and prosper, the more challenging the better. School can't do it all by themselves.

I wish you well,

Tony in Michigan

ps. What State are you located in?, I hope not Texas, for gods sake!

Anton's picture

Jim Buss?

Jeannie Buss?

Good lord, the schools 50 years ago must have been lax in their standards.

dalethorn's picture

I think we have apples and oranges here. Home schooling and the ideas behind it tend to lead toward a 18th century society, of the educated and well-heeled elite, a few mid-level managers under them, and a lot of serfs. Public education, if done right, leads to a modern society with a relatively well-to-do and robust middle class. The reality is, that money managers and politicos have sucked the money out of the grade 1-12 education system, and so it's failing. The wealthy in some respects are their own worst enemies. It could well be that the audiophile middle class is disappearing for the same reason.

tonykaz's picture

Oh, I suppose your right.

I believe in Public Education with 3 Rs added to the mix of Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, plus: Responsibility, Respect & Resourcefulness .

WW11 Baby Boom flooded the School Systems, how could they prepare for large classroom sizes?

My 40 year old ( farm country ) daughter has a classroom of 10 youth of various ages, she's part of a group of 6 moms that home school, they organized their own little School system. It's a ton of work but they don't see any other way to assure and insure a proper education for their children.

Those wealthy ( you refer to ) see themselves as the ruling elite, they have their position from what they say is "Hard Work", they earned and deserve. I say "maybe"! I see their children inheriting the wealth and having unearned confidence in their view of things, they are the folks buying those Focal Utopia products.

Middle class is disappearing, Middle class Audiophile stuff has become a Big Screen TV with a Best Buy sound system.

I see the Global Marketplace World going into Revolution. We see it with those middle-easterners wearing vests, it's spreading into England with Brexit, I see it here in our Election Cycle. Folks see the top percent making staggering gains whilst everyone else is suffering a decline. History predicts bloody revolts as the top 10% own 90% of the National Assets: France, Russia are the two most recent examples. The "Bernie Sanders" phenonomen looks like the beginning of something, perhaps something nasty if we don't work out a "peaceful" political solution. I'm hopeful but I don't think I'll live to see any of this into the next era.

A political solution will be painful for the Wealthy!, but it's better than having a Bastille Day, like the French.

I was at a Church picnic today, two 40 year olds were discussing Advent Crossovers from Garbage day loudspeakers, one already owns Magnapan MMGs. Maybe the middle class Audiophiles are out there but quietly doing Diy.

Tony in Michigan

eriks's picture

If Apple ever wanted to anything for musicians, or any other content creators they would have. They haven't. Buying Tidal would be more of the same with more musicians given less options and fewer vendors to compete to be the sales platform for their product.

Second, this is a company whose CEO is supporting a speaker of the house who is supporting a man who is a proud racist and sexist because well, at least he's not a Democrat.

On what planet can I morally allow Apple to have any money from me, at all? How on earth can you see this past behavior and put it together into a story that supports musicians?

I understand if the editors feel this is a politically charged comment, but really so is the original story. I'm fine with you deleting this comment, just delete the story as well. That kind of fan boy writing completely unaware of the political climate in which he's writing has no more place in Stereophile than this comment.

Erik

John Atkinson's picture
eriks wrote:
this is a company whose CEO is supporting a speaker of the house who is supporting a man who is a proud racist and sexist because well, at least he's not a Democrat.

I was puzzled by this statement as I hadn't read that Tim Cook was supporting Trump, so I did a Google search. All I could find was stories like this - fortune.com/2016/06/20/apple-ceo-tim-cook-says-no-to-donald-trump-but-yes-to-paul-ryan/ - where it seemed clear that while Cook was supporting the Republican party, he was not endorsing or supporting Trump.

eriks wrote:
I understand if the editors feel this is a politically charged comment, but really so is the original story. I'm fine with you deleting this comment, just delete the story as well.

I regret to inform you that your application to moderate this site has been denied. But if you and others wish to discuss politics, we have "The Open Bar" section on our forum where you are welcome to post.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Tim Cook, an openly gay man, is supporting notoriously homophobic Paul Ryan? Given Caitlin Jenner's much-trumpeted politics, maybe Cook and Jenner should join together on a cover of Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools."

I realize this belongs in the Open Bar, but really, with the bar so low, I couldn't help but move forward on this truly backwards looking duo.

jason

tonykaz's picture

Of course Cook is Corporate, which demands Globalization which is what the Elephants are all about.

Politics makes strange bedfellows. Cook & Ryan, oh my, what's this world coming to?, I'll try to get rid of Ryan or at least assist in his getting-rid-of, promise.

Open Bar, hmm, I didn't know about it, thanks J.A.

Stereophile is evolving into a rather great place!

Tony in Michigan

drblank's picture

Can we get off political discussions? Wouldn't that be better suited for another forum?

FYI, Cook had mentioned that some of the Dems don't take corp donations. Maybe Paul Ryan is taking a different look on gays, maybe that's why Cook is doing.

Elephants? Elephants aren't political, they are just large animals that can't vote since they are animals, not humans. :-)

Global business exist and will always exist because society wouldn't advance without globalization of businesses, especially tech companies. Computers run businesses, education systems and homes and they have to be global based companies. They create jobs on a world wide basis, which is a good thing.

tonykaz's picture

No politics for me or anyone else but you respond with politics.

Tony in Michigan

darwinosx's picture

Using that logic on what mortal grounds can you buy anything from any company.

mtymous1's picture

...as well as the commenters and posters on this site are great examples as to why I no longer subscribe to Stereophile.

To the newbie author of this article:
Am going to go out on a limb here, but "Beyoncé, Jay Z, Prince, Kanye, Madonna... Drake, Taylor Swift, Chance the Rapper..." aren't buzzwords for core Stereophile readership.

Know your audience.

drblank's picture

and they know how to market their crap to the masses. Unfortunately, the majority of people that listen to music listen to what's been marketed to them, unfortunate but that's the truth. Companies that are trying to sell products and services to the masses have to use every possible means to get their products/services marketed and that's why they are getting involved, plus the music industry has been in a nose dive and they are ALL trying to figure out a way to save it.

Personally, we as adults just have to figure out how to educate the kids growing up on what is good music to listen to and what isn't.

It's unrealistic to expect any of these guys to solely cater to the audiophile world. they have to use any means possible to get mind share of the masses. Unfortunate, but true.

darwinosx's picture

Fixed

It's unrealistic to expect any of these guys to solely cater to the audiophile world because it is a tiny niche market.

brenro's picture

And I don't listen to any of those "artists".

mtymous1's picture

...exactly my point.

Core readership couldn't care less about those artists, so propping up those "exclusive" names as part of the "added incentive" argument is pointless to you, me, and others. Big swing-and-miss on the author's part to establish an appellate position on the AAPL / Tidal topic right from the onset.

Anon2's picture

An acquisition by Apple means more accretion of the download/streaming chaos towards a badly needed industry standard. However, the concerns expressed by opponents in this comments section also hold validity.

I am old fashioned, but this tumult in the download/streaming movement all equates to a lot of expenditures, both fixed and variable in nature. These expenditures support ephemeral platforms and standards. It all adds up to more monthly fees, more new equipment, more copying files to and fro, more account names and passwords, and then starting the process anew. "Johnny come lately" in these realms becomes "He's holding her...And you're still around..." with alarming regularity.

This instability and uncertainty, all paid for by scarce consumers' dollars for the willing, keep me on the sidelines. After having attended download/streaming seminars and product demos galore in the past half decade, my instinctive reaction has been to re-double my purchases of physical medium, CDs being my personal preference.

A decent DAC, a good digital coaxial cable, and a solid, new and modestly priced CD transport has done enough to keep me happy for CD listening. I stay in the driver's seat concerning the standards and formats. For free streaming, a good audio-grade USB cable from the computer to the same DAC has also done wonders with predictability and minimal expense.

While I wish others well on their paid streaming/downloading, I have found a deepening, and cheapening, market for used CDs, as well as some very good new issues, particularly in the classical realm. For working hours, as I've written many times before, there's RNE Radio 3/Radio Clasica and BBC Radio 3: they are both free, superbly curated, and good enough for the times I'm not at home. RNE now has over 5 years of archived programs like Nuestro Flamenco and Tropico Utopico, all free for the taking.

I wish the adherents of the pay-to-stream/download luck in this deepening morass of confusion. This industry keeps stirring the glass, hoping the Metamucil-like sediment will dissolve. The sediment thickens the more we hope it would gain solubility. If I were an enthusiast of these chaotic standards, I'd probably be reaching for some real Metamucil by now.

drblank's picture

don't know what a CD is, because they don't use them. They download content and many of them do it from illegal torrent sites similar to Napster, Kazaa, that have been shut down.

The music industry simply isn't making money anymore and CD sales are diving, digital download sales are diving and streaming music is increasing. The problem is making it a viable profitable business that no one has figured out how to do it.

Yeah we all want high quality digital music, and your right, it takes a lot of money, infrastructure, etc., to do this and I think the audiophile community has very unrealistic expectations for what can be done on a mass level that's affordable and worth doing. Yes, it is a confused mess with no ONE standard. I think MQA has a potential for being the standard for streaming HiRes. It's just a matter of getting content, first and foremost, and by the time there's a lot of content then the ability to playback will be there. 24/192 DACs are becoming more affordable and I can see all future computers/smartphones and tablets eventually having 24/192 DACs internally so that if it just needs a CODEC at the player level or they can embed MQA internally. HTC showed a MQA smartphone prototype at CES, so it's possible to embed that into future smartphones, computers, etc. it's just a matter of Apple and the others physically doing it.

I personally don't buy that much content anymore since I have a catalog of CDs and digital files that I've been collecting for 20 years, which satisfies most of my music desires. Even 24/192 versions of the content I already have in CD form is hard to find, and it's expensive. HiRes is really a tough sell to the masses, but it'll get there, it just takes time for it to be standardized.

I am hopeful for MQA, but I have resisted signing up for streaming services because I honestly don't NEED it, right now. But I can still remain hopeful that they'll eventually figure it out and do it right.

dalethorn's picture

The illegal and torrent sites are *nothing* like Napster. Napster allowed you to find who had a favorite track of yours, and then you could examing that user's tracks for others you might like. Nobody ever had that except Napster.

sasami's picture

My friend is a not famous musician. He told me don't listen to his music through steaming or downloading. If you like his music just buy a CD from him. You can rip the CD into any format you prefer for listening. He will get 100s time more than steaming and downloading.

audiolab's picture

NO
Keep apple away from anything......period.

DH's picture

Apple gets rid of the CD quality stream.
Apple loses exclusivity from Tidal artists: my understanding is that in a buyout, partners can renegotiate deals. without Jay-Z, think all those artists will continue exclusivity with Tidal?

Royalties? Apple model takes over for Tidal model. Why would we expect Apple to do anything else, barring some legal barrier to them screwing the artists on royalties?

darwinosx's picture

Apple does quite well with artist royalties..you are thinking of Spotify..
In any event no streaming service pays artists they all pay the music publishers and negotiations are with them not the artists.

sjc1204's picture

I'm in the group that thinks a potential acquisition is 100% motivated by obtaining the exclusive contracts, music industry relationships, additional celebrity stakeholders and the artist-centered image of TIDAL.

As others have remarked, Apple doesn't offer competing products. They maintained Beats Music for a short time but, from day one, were working on merging it into iTunes. I think the TIDAL brand would disappear within a few quarters.

Finally, if Apple wanted to offer higher quality downloads/streams, it would engineer it's own platform. Furthermore, there might be a risk involved in offering lossless because Apple has brilliantly convinced the masses that their lossy product is top notch.

darwinosx's picture

Apple has bought technologies many many times in order to get a jump start into integrating that technology with their products.

crenca's picture

The author is perhaps revealing her youth. If you have been in the music and/or computer game for a while, you are aware that Apple is controversial in many ways. While I do not "do" Apple, I appreciate what they have meant for the market.

I agree with those who believe that Apple purchasing Tidal would be on balance a negative thing for Tidal's customers. I suspect in the long run it would force me into Spotify 320 (I am currently a Tidal "Hi-Fi" subscriber) because Apple always (always always always) leverages their services to push the customer into the Apple proprietary ecosystem, and that is a place I will not go (for a host of reasons mostly having to do with quality and cost)...

darwinosx's picture

Spotify uses Ogg Vorbis 320k with paying subscribers and nobody think thats is much a of a quality codec to use.

Anton's picture

Geez, do y'all have to sit on doughnut rings when you listen to your audio set ups?

How did you geezers manage to escape the grip of AM monophonic bandwidth limited radios and find the audio hobby? "Kids these days" won't be able to overcome low fi to discover hi fi? Come on.

Opining that not every 'kid' loves our nerd hobby as much as they 'should' or as much as we do is a sure way to kill the beast.

I am embarrassed on behalf of my fellow baby boomers.

dmhenley's picture

adding to an already long discussion.

I am nervous about this potential purchase by Apple. I don't see anyone but Apple benefiting from it. We are assuming here that Apple isn't wanting to buy Tidal to improve the lives of musicians/songwriters and their fans. They may simply be removing competition and expanding their customer base. And, they have in the past used proprietary design to force users in, or out in my case. No Apple products here. In theory Apple could expose more people to high end audio - that'd be good for the audio industry.
On an individual level I believe it's a bad idea to give up your ownership of things for convenience. These companies, for whom music is not a priority, have control over the majority of listeners access to it. Let's not pretend increasing monthly subscription rates for Tidal HIFI and increasing it's customer base will be a material change for the average artists.
There is another, deeper problem here: most people simply don't want to pay for music. If you want to support the artists - buy their records and merchandise. Direct, if possible.
My humble submission: we need to elevate music in the minds of people. When they understand it's cultural importance and potential for personal enrichment they will be more willing to invest in it. And perhaps they will want a better listening experience too. The market will follow the money.

miguelito's picture

That is Apple acquires TIDAL for the exclusives and does away with CD or higher quality streaming...

darwinosx's picture

Its already been shown over and over that the Tidal "exclusives" are a joke.

Mark Tarone's picture

There's a time and place for stirring the pot and for dreaming. If this article was intended for either, hats off - obviously highly effective at the former. If the author believes the likelihood of her assumptions coming true is high enough to add a substantive contribution to the Apple > Tidal discussion, I can't help but get irked. With no disrespect to Jana (she's a great writer), two of her core statements feel highly naive to this reader. The statements I find problematic are the author's hailing Apple's acquisition of Tidal as being "exactly what the world needs" and that after the acquisition, "the concept of hi-resolution streaming stays alive and gains access to a larger audience." Both seem far from the truth.

It's unlikely that Apple will roll-out a CD-quality or high-res streaming platform after the acquisition of Tidal. Apple's reported interest in Tidal has little or nothing to do with high-res streaming. Apple's interest is in gaining superstar exclusives and likely sees some value in knocking out a competitor who occasionally steals big glowing "exclusive access" headlines from Apple. Apple is not interested in Tidal's high-res streaming technology (Apple will want to build its own high-res platform if it ever goes down that road). Is Apple interested in Tidal's high res subscriber base? Possible but unlikely as Apple has shunned high-res music delivery in any form to date.

What we know with 90% certainty is that if Apple buys Tidal, Apple will shut down Tidal *and* provide a product that feeds Apple's 'closed universe' of products while creating hurdles, hassles and dead-ends for all non-Apple products and users. Supporting two brands and streaming platforms is expensive and would deliver Apple relatively few benefits.

So, Tidal would be killed and along with it, Roon integration with a streaming music platform. Apple will not allow a third-party to control the user interface to the extent that Roon does. Roon will no longer help me and others become fans of and support countless artists whose music we have access to only via streaming platforms.

The most likely outcome of Apple purchasing Tidal is that music industry power is centralized in fewer hands, we lose CD-quality streaming entirely and Roon ends up without a U.S. streaming platform. Stating that this is "exactly what the world needs" is misplaced and bothersome.

Mark Tarone's picture

Dear Stereophile,

Considering the impact on your readership that would occur if Apple were to acquire Tidal (i> Tidal is likely used by more of your readers than any other streaming platform; ii> a significant % of your readers view Roon as the greatest thing since sliced bread; and iii> MQA is currently the biggest buzz word in your industry), I would expect you to cover the Apple > Tidal topic in a manner more akin to: http://www.digitalaudioreview.net/2016/07/apple-tidal-uncertainty-fear/

jessecosta's picture

Finally, something good happens! Now I just need some high-quality earbuds so I can listen to music peacefully! Found some ones here: best budget earbuds.

Bill Leebens's picture

I don't see how Apple would benefit from this---but then, I didn't get the Beats deal, either. Oh, well.

My gut is telling me it's a Tidal-generated rumor designed to increase market cap of their company.

But I've been called cynical more than once.

PeterMrozik's picture

I have Tidal for the CD-type streams. I like that. What Tidal doesn't have are playlists for classical music subscribers (they have 16 classical playlists in total). I don't like that.
While I too am generally opposed to Apple in any form, it could be that they might show a little more love to classical music subscribers. Or not.

olc's picture

Tidal is pretty good as is, but my experience with a trial of Apple was disappointing. I took the time to create some playlists and over time the content on them kept shrinking. A search couldn't find the missing songs on Apple Music at all.

darwinosx's picture

That has nothing to do with Apple and all streaming services have this issue. I am a subscriber to Tidal, Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify and the music industry is free to pull their offerings which they do all the time just like the movie studios do with Netflix. if you want permanence buy your music outright.

Bill Leebens's picture

...to be able to buy anything, anywhere, at any time. High end audio, in general, has blinders on regarding the rest of the world.

When I was at Audiogon, years ago now, my biggest challenge was convincing manufacturers that having an internet presence was valuable and vital and didn't necessarily mean that they had to sell their stuff online. Most are more sophisticated now.

Most.

A large percentage of companies in the high end still feel that internet sales or direct sales undermine brick and mortar dealers. While it is a somewhat tricky balancing act, coordinating the various sales channels can be done. The company I work for, for example, has regular b&m dealers, internet sellers, and sells certain models on Amazon. We also sell direct from the factory, and have for 43 years now. And of course we have international distributors.

There is a lot of lip-service given to bringing in new blood to high-end audio; well, many younger buyers are acclimated to buying online or being able to call and talk to a knowledgeable rep. They may not EVER go into a store of ANY kind, not just an audio store.

I respectfully suggest to my friends and colleagues that you cannot force a potential customer to buy your way: it has to be a way they're comfortable with. If you try to force a customer to do something they're uncomfortable with, they will simply go elsewhere.

It is a competitive world. Accept, adapt---or die. Simple as that.

tonykaz's picture

You nailed it!

Tony in Michigan

Don Ho's picture

www.PONOSUCKS.com

veentage's picture

Brave post! Keep up the good work!

X