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Beatles albums should go lossless on iTunes

With a band that was so hell-bent on perfecting audio recordings, it makes sense to offer them in a format that doesn't strip away so much of that sonic finesse

A £200m deal between iTunes and Sir Paul McCartney to have the popular digital music store offer the entire Beatles back-catalogue for download has recently been all over the news. The Daily Mail broke the story, which was later denied by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, though I assume the deal is likely to happen eventually.

EMI releases The Beatles' albums, and was the first major label to offer high-quality DRM-free downloads at iTunes. I believe that, following my previous discussion about iTunes offering lossless downloads, The Beatles' work could be the first to be offered in Apple Lossless.

Beatles albums are the absolute Holy Grail in download stores' eyes. They have sold over a billion copies worldwide. They're the most successful band in history, with six albums reaching diamond status (that's 10 million per album). So having their entire back-catalogue available is going to mean big business.

With a band that was so hell-bent on perfecting audio recordings, using innovative new techniques and processes to achieve artistically mind-blowing new types of sound, it makes every sense in the world to offer them in a format that doesn't strip away so much of that sonic finesse.

Furthermore, without some tricky transcoding, Apple Lossless files are almost only supported by iPods (Cowon being a portable exception, and the Sonos system being the notable streamer), so offering them in this format could increase iPod sales. AAC -- the standard DRM-free iTunes Plus format -- on the other hand, is supported by plenty of devices on the market today, including those by Sony and Creative.

If any band is to be offered in lossless quality first, it should be The Beatles. What better way to encourage audiophiles to legally download, than by offering lossless versions of the most important band to hear with sonic accuracy?