24 Bit and the age of Awesome

When I hear the way music sounds coming out of smartphones, I can't help but ask myself how can it be that in a world with technology has come so far is it possible for developers to allow for such poor results in the audio world?  I was talking to a well known music publishing lawyer the other day and we started talking about some of the issues in the business industry. One thing that I brought up is that I really feel that even Mp3s that are sourced out of 24 bit files sound significantly better to my ears than even WAV files at 16 bit. In Bob Katz's book "Mastering Audio" he briefly mentions the fact that if someone has to convert files to Mp3, she's much better off doing so from 24 bit audio source than 16 bit. The obvious reasoning here is lack of floor noise, which is pretty audible to my ears in 16 bit files even after dithering.

In my mind, there's really no excuse to cut corners anymore, especially considering how affordable hard-drive space is these days. With Neil Young's new Hi-Fi digital music system PONO out and about, let's hope that people start making use of the technology we have for music to sound great. This will improve the value of music in the long run and maybe keep the doors of the industry open.

What do you listen to these days?

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook: "What do you listen to these days when you have history's discography at your fingertips?" I thought about it for a second and replied: "Good question, existentially speaking." I don't know about the rest of you, but I have been listening to everything these days but at the same time I've been listening to nothing. 

It wasn't that long ago that I would take some of my hard-earned/saved cash to walk into a CD store and purchase an album - of course after many minutes of deliberation over which one to buy. That CD would then spin (or play in my mp3 player) non-stop until I had the record down cold in my brain - all the subtle guitar phrases; the exact drum fills; everything. Those days, of course, are over. Even as a record producer, I myself have basically stopped listening to albums. People listen to singles and even if they're listening to singles, chances are they're watching a music video on YouTube while listening and if not that, then it's blaring off in the background while they work, hardly even noticed. On the one hand, we have access to everything. On the other hand, nothing penetrates. I feel like I'm swimming in an endless sea of music and not a single drop clings to my body for more than an instant. 

I understand that the music industry is evolving and I understand the need for change, but I'm missing that primordial emotional response to music that I once had. I wonder who else is missing this and wants it back. I wonder, how can we shape the music industry together so that people still involve themselves in the music they listen to. If that happened, people would value music again and maybe even be willing to pay for it.