MP3’s are Bad for You

So, on the lighter side, I’m thinking about doing an NPR commentary on the decline in fidelity of digital music formats. Coming from the old world of lps (vinyl disks on which we used to store music as little bumps analogous to the sounds that made them), I’ve always had a bias against digital sampling as an audio playback medium.

But MP3’s, with their ingenius algorithm designed to fool the ear into hearing sounds that aren’t there, really seem to destroy the music they are intended to disseminate. To me, they are the audio equivalent of early xerox copies or mid-eighties computer animation. Doesn’t anyone else hear (or not hear) the music on mp3s the way I do? They sound as different from recorded music as a Realvideo file is from a 35mm movie.

I found a bit of research on the subject, and there does appear to be a growing camp of audiophiles lamenting what is being done to the ears of America’s youth. Will the next generation of music listeners be able to hear reality the same way we did?

And why hasn’t the music industry – with a vested interest in stopping the proliferation of MP3’s – said anything about this? Would a piece about this be a strategic error?

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