Apple, U2 reportedly working on secret new digital music format

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Comments

  • Reply 61 of 99
    auxio wrote: »
    Wonder if Apple's got Bono coding some sick new lossless audio compressor in Swift while visiting Cupertino...

    I had the same laugh as well.

    However, purely technical people who only look at compression, bitrate, algorithms, and the like are also missing the point.  There is a real experience of hearing a live band that we're trying to recreate.  The positioning of the microphones, the type of microphones used, your position relative to the speakers, open air/closed auditorium/recording studio, the shape of the auditorium/studio, etc, etc.  It takes someone who has years of experience in the industry to understand all of these little details.  Combine such a person with people who know the details of creating audio codecs as well as people who understand the components in your headphones/speakers and how they recreate sound in your ears, and you can make magic.  If you only focus on one part of it, then you lose sight of the big picture.

    Purely technical people getting having full control over any technology used for music reproduction has historically been a recipe for disaster. They have all sorts of rules of thumb for what "the human ear can't hear" and they won't listen to any rebuttal.

    The first solid-state amplifiers were very, very good compared to typical tube-type amps when it came to harmonic distortion. "Yeah, but these circuit designs produce inharmonic distortion as well." "Don't be silly, nobody can hear that!" The results were horrifying.

    Stereo was based on the idea that people could only detect loudness differences between their two ears. "But there's phase, too." "Don't worry, we tested people (with a sine wave generator) and they can't detect that." "How about drumbeats and such? Then you've got four arrival times instead of two." "Pshaw! Nobody can tell the difference!"

    The first CD players had output above 20 KHz chopped off by a very steep LC filter. "Yeah, but that causes terrible phase distortion way down the audio range." "Come on, nobody can hear that!" Again, horrifying results.

    The list goes on and on. I think having real music people involved in the process is a good idea. Of course, the Beatles really popularized stereo, but then what they called "stereo" was "some-instruments-in-one-ear-and-other-instruments-in-the-other-ear", so it's a crapshoot.
  • Reply 62 of 99
  • Reply 63 of 99
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,727member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ericlmercer View Post



    I believe Apple's involved with U2 for the clout, legitimacy & press the band's involvement presence lends.

     

    Yup.  It'll help get major exposure for whatever they're working on.  Plus U2 has deep connections in the industry, so it'll help get the tech heads at Apple connected with the audio heads.

     

    Quote:


    Cook said there's lot's going on at Apple right now and these recent movements seem like this secret plan could turn out to be the kind of total incomprehensible surprise iTunes was when first announced. Seems something profound's a foot...


     

    Indeed.  With the Beats acquisition and increased ties with U2, they'll pretty much have one or two degrees of separation from anyone in the music business.  All pointing to something big.

  • Reply 64 of 99
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post





    Name them.



    Annie Lennox. Sting. Do the rest yourself.

  • Reply 65 of 99
    bdkennedy1 wrote: »

    Annie Lennox. Sting. Do the rest yourself.

    And in what way have those two artist duplicated or exceeded what U2 has done?
  • Reply 66 of 99
    I'm looking for Apple/Beats-sponsored live concerts three nights a week -- free on every AppleTV, iPhone and iPad. Ads during concerts focus will sell music, memorabilia and concert tickets for the performers. Before and after each live concert, iDevice owners can watch legacy concerts from earlier days (accompanied by ads/product sales for the groups).
  • Reply 67 of 99
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by imt1 View Post



    If this is true, it now may put the U2 Album and distribution into perspective. Put the Album into everyone's hands with the current AAC encoding. Come out After the October deadline with the same album but the new format. If its a high fidelity format, now offer users to re-download that song in the higher fidelity format so they can hear the difference for themselves.



    And they won't be able to.  Existing formats are perfectly good enough given the realities of human hearing.  A miniscule number of people actually have audio equipment capable of accurately reproducing what is encoded in current formats.  Audio reproduction these days seems to mostly be from something like a POS Sonos at the high end and a wide variety of rather small bluetooth speakers at the other.

  • Reply 68 of 99
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post





    And in what way have those two artist duplicated or exceeded what U2 has done?



    They stopped.

  • Reply 69 of 99
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by StanTheMan View Post



    I'm looking for Apple/Beats-sponsored live concerts three nights a week -- free on every AppleTV, iPhone and iPad. Ads during concerts focus will sell music, memorabilia and concert tickets for the performers. Before and after each live concert, iDevice owners can watch legacy concerts from earlier days (accompanied by ads/product sales for the groups).

     

    Queue up the Aerosmith...

     

    Dream on! Dream on! Dream on! Dream oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!

  • Reply 70 of 99
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,528member
    bdkennedy1 wrote: »

    Annie Lennox. Sting. Do the rest yourself.

    And in what way have those two artist duplicated or exceeded what U2 has done?

    Seriously. And I was hoping and expecting he would name someone significantly younger than U2.
  • Reply 71 of 99
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Why do you think Britney Spears and Lady Gaga sell their own lines of perfume, clothing, jewelry, etc. and seek out corporate sponsorships?

    Because they only really have image and don't have any actual musical talent and those things are pertinent to the one thing they do have?

  • Reply 72 of 99
    cnocbui wrote: »
    Because they only really have image and don't have any actual musical talent and those things are pertinent to the one thing they do have?

    If they sell something people are willing to buy, that's all that matters. It's the "music business." Their brand of product/entertainment may not be to your liking, but their sales cannot be denied.
  • Reply 73 of 99

    Pono is a complete dead end!

     

    There is no benefit to "hd" audio formats with sample rates higher than 44.1kHz or 48kHz or even 24bit when it comes to the final delivery. Through the recording and production process, 24bit is a great benefit though, and in some instances, higher sample rates can be of benefit through the mixing process as well (plugins with algorithms that work better at the higher sample rates) but to use 24bit 192kHz as a final delivery format the way pono does is just plain stupid. It does not provide any extra fidelity.

     

    In fact, there is a serious disadvantage: Significantly increased file sizes which creates the need for larger (and more expensive) storage and needlessly wastes bandwidth (which can be a real problem when crappy cellphone providers charge by the GB). 

     

    If apple wants to increase audio quality they already have a format ready for that: Apple Lossless. It provides an actual increase in fidelity since it unlike aac and mp3 does not remove any data. And if they wanted to play nice with open source nerds they could support flac as well, but they won't. 

     

    So Apple Lossless and some new way to bundle extras to enhance the user experience is the way to go. 

  • Reply 74 of 99
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post





    If they sell something people are willing to buy, that's all that matters. It's the "music business." Their brand of product/entertainment may not be to your liking, but their sales cannot be denied.



    Won't argue with that.  My idea of music doesn't incorporate the idea of 'business' except as a sideline.

  • Reply 75 of 99

    The "audio format" will be about streaming concerts online, and stuff like that.

     

    Maybe a U2 branded concert social network, similar to the Dre branded Beats headphones.

     

    If there is one thing no one can deny, U2 is one of the greatest concert bands, with some of the greatest stadium shows.

  • Reply 76 of 99
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

     

    The "audio format" will be about streaming concerts online, and stuff like that.

     


     

    To put a finer point on that... perhaps a consumer-friendly version of the sorts of proprietary streaming of live events fairly common in movie theatres nowadays?

    Hi-def, multi-channel sound, perhaps?

  • Reply 77 of 99

    I'm a huge u2 fan so i won't go into the merits of them as a band etc. Perhaps one reason why Apple works with u2 though, is that u2 are actually interested in working with Apple beyond the philanthropic and personal connections. They are quite keen on technological improvements too etc. Through the years of reading interviews with the band and their management, my guess is that they would be working on 2 things - 

     

    An update to the album format. Many bands including u2 (and also more hip bands like Radiohead etc) lament the death of the album. The fact that people don't buy an album and enjoy the experience of listening to a collection of songs, in the sequence presented. And the whole physical purchase act that gets lost too. That romantic nostalgia element of buying a record, putting it on and holding the album sleeve and notes... Same way obstinate people still enjoying reading on dead trees. Bands have released multiple formats and deluxe editions with extra goodies for fans, to entice more sales but what I think they are really after now is a way to add premium value to digital downloads. To have a common format that will allow bands to present a compelling reason for music fans (and not necessarily the band's hardcore fans who would buy their stuff anyways) to purchase a whole album. There have been various bespoke attempts to do this but there hasn't been a standard way for many bands that might not have the resources of say Bjork or u2 themselves to offer these.

     

    The other area where I think they'll collaborate is the live performance. u2's past tour was a spectacle but when you reach a certain size the intimacy of the performance gets lost. The Beatles were limited by this too back in the day. u2 had approached apple for the last tour but apple declined and nothing came of it. I can imagine them trying to come up with a system to distribute live audio to people's phones whilst at a show.  Not to mention the possibility of using ibeacons and offering immediate recordings of the show as souvenirs.

  • Reply 78 of 99
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post





    Try extracting your head from your posterior first.



    Individual artists and writers (just like actors and screenwriters) working in the current system face a lot of competition. Most make very little money. This is a simple fact. The musicians I know and have known, plus knowing how most labels structure their deals informs my comment.



    There aren't very many millionaires in the music business unless they expand into other markets. Why do you think Britney Spears and Lady Gaga sell their own lines of perfume, clothing, jewelry, etc. and seek out corporate sponsorships?



    Music is a business and artists are not usually well-versed in the fine points of contracts, licensing and upfront fees for music videos and the like.



    Individul artists and writers (just like actors and screenwriters) working under the 'old systems' faced a lot of competition too.  It's always been a highly competitive industry.  Elvis, The Beatles and Frank Sinatra starred in movies, so artists working wherever they can to make more money is nothing new either.  But if you're going to cite Lady Gaga and Briteny Spears as examples of how the music biz works, then I guess nobody but Bill Gates and Larry Ellison are making any money in the computer industry either.

     

    Not sure what your estimation of artists abilities to understand contracts has to do with your point.  Hans Zimmer has more contract trouble understanding contracts than Ennio Morricone did because of increased compitition?  Fun fact: I don't seem to recall either selling fragrances, clothing lines or jewelry.  Or are you confusing Hans with George Zimmer of the Men's Warehouse?

     

    Like I 'hinted' before, you lack an understanding of the total music biz, grasshopper. :smokey: 

  • Reply 79 of 99
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post

     

    I can't wait to see Bono's contribution to an audio codec and compression whitepaper.


     

    I guess it's too late to hold my breath hoping it's published in time for the AES Convention next month.

     

    I'm sure that he will insist that the algorithm "weigh in" at not less than 9.5 Courics, the "record" he set himself.

  • Reply 80 of 99
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

    We have ALAC. What else could the world possibly need?


     

    But ALAC doesn't have a sample rate high enough to capture light waves! It's not "hifi" if it doesn't exceed the threshold of human perception by at least a factor of two.

     

    Now, having said that, cue the chorus of audiophiles who've never even read the Nyquist theorem, much less acquired a working understanding of it, claiming that higher sample rates improve the audible portion of signal.

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