Apple Lossless format coming to iTMS?

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
A new version of Apple Computer's iTunes Producer software suggest that the company may begin to offer tracks through its iTunes Music Store that are encoded in its higher-quality lossless compression format.



Apple introduced the format in 2004 as part of QuickTIme 6.5.1, saying it offered CD-quality audio in "about half the storage space." The company later added support for the format to iTunes 4.5.



In a private release of iTunes Producer 1.4 this week, Apple said the software "now encodes music in Apple Lossless format, which produces larger audio files and will increase upload time."



iTunes Producer is distributed to record labels by Apple as a tool for prepping and submitting their content for inclusion on the iTunes Music Store. The iTunes service currently serves up tracks in only the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) format.



Although the ACC format also produces tracks with a quality rivaling that of uncompressed CD audio, it does so to a lesser extent than the Apple Lossless format.



It's unclear what role the Apple Lossless format will play on the iTunes music store, if at all. Unlike AAC, the format does not presently utilize a digital rights management (DRM) scheme to assure copy-protection -- though popular speculation is that DRM could be applied to the format in much the same way as other QuickTime file formats.



The iTunes Producer 1.4 release also improves stability of uploading playlists and displays upload progress, sources told AppleInsider.
«1345

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 95
    zwebenzweben Posts: 75member
    I'd buy Apple Lossless songs!



    Especially if you can downconvert them later. Even the burn and rip a CD method would be fine, as there would be no quality loss- it'd be the same as ripping from the original CD. Plus that would allow you to get DRM free music without a lossy transcoding step.



    I hope this happens!
  • Reply 2 of 95
    westwest Posts: 34member
    I think this would be agreat idea, considering a lot of what keeps me from downloading most of my music from iTunes is the somewhat low audio quality. Instead of (or in addition to) putting lossless files for sale, they should just do AAC, but at a higher quality, like 320 (where I rip all my CDs).
  • Reply 3 of 95
    hattighattig Posts: 828member
    I guess that new content may be in Apple Lossless (with a Fairplay wrapper), but it will take a longer time to transition the older content (the millions of songs) from 128kbps AAC to Apple Lossless.



    If they're distributing it now, it might not be in effect until later this year, or even next year.



    I would have been happy with 256kbps AAC, which would have been practically indistinguishable from CD quality for 99.9% of people. I actually only rip my CDs to 160kbps VBR AAC as it is now, it's good enough on the iPod.
  • Reply 4 of 95
    bcharnabcharna Posts: 43member
    What record company has a big mouth,AI?
  • Reply 5 of 95
    Great news.



    Either Apple could start selling Lossless, or they could be using these files as the basis for an allofmp3-style system, whereby you set in iTunes prefs what bitrate you'd like, and the Music Store automatically down-converts the Lossless files before they are sent to you.



    It would take a bit longer, surely, but it would be a wonderful feature. That way, if you're happy with 128k and the quick downloads, cool. If you don't mind putting up with longer downloads, you can go for higher bitrate or Lossless.



    A+ news (if true).
  • Reply 6 of 95
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    I see it as Apple being able to have a "master" copy of the record that they can convert to whatever format is being utilized at the time. For example, a new format comes along that rivals AAC. So Apple automates the process of converting the lossless files to this new format.
  • Reply 7 of 95
    heyjpheyjp Posts: 39member
    Hey,



    Crees! has it right by my book. I have always assumed that Apple uses Apple Lossless as the master database of ALL their online music. if and when the iTunes music store moves to a new encryption standard (whether it is AAC 2.0 or just a higher bandwidth version, or, as suggested above they allow multiple formats by user choice) it is these lossless masters that would be the source for the new format.



    This new feature in Apple Producer allows all music producers to provide lossless source files for apple's music masters.



    You know that at some point be it 2 years or 10 years from now, there will be a new format that is significantly higher quality at 128 kbps than AAC or provides same quality as AAC at 32 kbps and Apple will choose to move to it. They just turn a rack of Macs loose 24/7, and a few days later, they are done.



    100 macs compressing at 20:1 speed could do 5 million 4-minute songs in 7 days. With a modest investment, the entire library could be converted in just days.



    Jim
  • Reply 8 of 95
    vmardianvmardian Posts: 22member
    Quote:

    Although the ACC format also produces tracks with a quality rivaling that of uncompressed CD audio, it does so to a lesser extent than the Apple Lossless format.



    How on earth could a lossy compression scheme rival uncompressed CD audio?
  • Reply 9 of 95
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    Umm...if Apple didn't do this right from the start...I'd be very disappointed. If it didn't keep a master lossless file somewhere, it's in deep shit since it'll have to go back knocking on every label's doors.



    I don't think Apple is *that* stupid.
  • Reply 10 of 95
    pyr3pyr3 Posts: 946member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by vmardian

    How on earth could a lossy compression scheme rival uncompressed CD audio?



    I read that too, and was thinking, "WTF?!" Maybe in file size, but definitely not in audio quality. The best part is that it seems to imply that Apple's lossless format will have even better quality. What is wrong with this picture:



    Apple Lossless > Apple Lossy > Uncompressed CD Audio



  • Reply 11 of 95
    gene cleangene clean Posts: 3,481member
    Quote:

    Although the ACC format also produces tracks with a quality rivaling that of uncompressed CD audio



    Laughable.
  • Reply 12 of 95
    pyr3pyr3 Posts: 946member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kim kap sol

    Umm...if Apple didn't do this right from the start...I'd be very disappointed. If it didn't keep a master lossless file somewhere, it's in deep shit since it'll have to go back knocking on every label's doors.



    I don't think Apple is *that* stupid.




    Why is that?



    1) Apple allows labels to provide them with lossless masters

    2) Apple gets enough lossless masters

    3) Apple requires all new submissions to be lossless. (optional)

    4) Apple starts offering higher quality downloads.

    5) If labels want to keep up with their competition they will have to start offering higher quality version on iTunes Music Store. This means that they now need to resubmit tracks in lossless format to Apple.



    If Apple skips step 3, then they just have to require that any label that wants the higher quality versions on iTunes needs to submit a lossless master instead of just a higher bitrate lossy version.
  • Reply 13 of 95
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:

    Originally posted by vmardian

    How on earth could a lossy compression scheme rival uncompressed CD audio?



    Re: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/technologies/aac/



    "AAC provides audio encoding that compresses much more efficiently than older formats, such as MP3, yet delivers quality rivaling that of uncompressed CD audio."



    Those are more Apple's words than our own.



    Best,



    K
  • Reply 14 of 95
    minderbinderminderbinder Posts: 1,703member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kasper

    Those are more Apple's words than our own.





    That doesn't mean you have to repeat them as if they are gospel. At the very least, phrase it like "Apple claims..."
  • Reply 15 of 95
    vmardianvmardian Posts: 22member
    Quote:

    "AAC provides audio encoding that compresses much more efficiently than older formats, such as MP3, yet delivers quality rivaling that of uncompressed CD audio."



    Those are more Apple's words than our own.



    Don't believe what you read. They are wrong.



    Rival means to meet or exceed the competition. AAC is lossy and by definition cannot rival CD audio.
  • Reply 16 of 95
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,417member
    Looks like Apple is taking a page from the George Lucas playbook.



    Release content. Sells like crazy. Re-release higher quality content. Repeat...
  • Reply 17 of 95
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    This might be one way to give value-added to albums, if they are downloaded in optional lossless. This might allow artists and labels to have the album sales they desire and give iTunes an air of audiophilia.
  • Reply 18 of 95
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    You folks are being a little picky. In the scheme of things, 128 AAC certainly "rivals" CD quality. The term 'rival' is used to mean "close but not as good." The vast majority of people don't notice much difference or at least aren't bothered by it. I know a lot of people in music - I'm an amateur jazz musician - and I don't know a single one who gives a crap about the difference between 128 AAC and ALC or CD quality.



    Sure, there's a difference, and anyone can hear it if they compare. But it's just not that big of a deal to most people, including, in my experience, people who have probably the most sophisticated knowledge and musical abilities of anyone in the world. The only people who seem to care are the self-professed "audiophiles."
  • Reply 19 of 95
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kim kap sol

    Umm...if Apple didn't do this right from the start...I'd be very disappointed. If it didn't keep a master lossless file somewhere, it's in deep shit since it'll have to go back knocking on every label's doors.



    I don't think Apple is *that* stupid.



    You'd be mistaken. Apple gives producers iTunes Producers. They're solely responsible for converting uploading the files. They can use a different bitrate, or even a completely different codec (some songs on iTunes are LAME-MP3).



    Now, Apple is adding an option for Lossless.



    Yes, this means that all current songs are lossy on Apple's server side.



    Yes, you can call this "stupid" on Apple's part.
  • Reply 20 of 95
    Quote:

    Originally posted by vmardian

    Don't believe what you read. They are wrong.



    Rival means to meet or exceed the competition. AAC is lossy and by definition cannot rival CD audio.




    That is NOT what rival means... it means 1) One who attempts to equal or surpass another, or who pursues the same object as another; a competitor. or 2) One that equals or almost equals another in a particular respect.
Sign In or Register to comment.