Technology Makes Music Worse

Advances have decreased the quality of recorded music
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2010 6:29 AM CDT
Technology Makes Music Worse
The Memorex Portable Audio System Lite (Mi7706P) makes music social with front and side speakers, iPod and iPhone compatibility, digital FM tuner and an integrated collapsible handle.   (Photo: Memorex)

Digital technology has irrevocably changed the music-listening experience—for the worse. As television and movies have become richer thanks to hi-def and 3-D advances, music has become, well, crappier, the New York Times points out. The crackly, thinner sounds of compressed formats like MP3s are objectively a step back from the quality offered by CDs or LPs, and the high-end-stereo-as-status-symbol is swiftly losing its place in popular culture.

The decrease in quality was a necessity at first: Apple's debut iTunes store, in 2003, could not have supported high-quality MP3s. “It would have been very difficult for the iTunes Store to launch with high-quality files if it took an hour to download a single song,” said one music exec. It can now—Apple just doubled its standard quality—but listeners expectations may already have changed. “My ears aren’t fine tuned,” said one 22-year-old reluctant to spend more on better headphones. “I don’t know if I could really tell the difference.” (Read more iTunes stories.)

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