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March 2019
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Rebuttal: Lossless Streaming Music
Why whine and cry about lossless audio, because anything is better than MP3.
Editorial By S.R.A.E.

 

 

  I have some serious qualms with Enjoy the Music.com's Creative Director Steven R. Rochlin's recent editorial Lossless Streaming Music: Welcome To 20 Years Ago. First off Steven, you're certainly not the first person to realize that streaming Hi-Res Music on the Internet was possible decades ago. Who cares if you think you were the first to stream music online without the need for a plug-in, because what did you do with that technology? Nothing, that's what! The true heroes were those featured within Nat Geo's series "Valley of the Boom", and many others who were in the trenches doing it. You were sitting back and just watching the world pass you by as the music industry imploded upon itself. So much for Mr. Steven R. Rochlin being a man of action.

Today we should bow down and be grateful for anything the music BUSINESS decides, as long as it is better than MP3. Who cares if the music BUSINESS just oversamples CDs or whatever to deliver 24-bit/44.1kHz digital files to Qobuz and others and say it is "Hi-Res Audio", etc. It is better than MP3 so 'lick the hand' and 'kiss the ring' that feeds your music love and get over yourself already!

Steven, you saw and reported on the whole online music industry implode upon itself decades ago, because major recording labels were too busy with too many 'moving parts' to do anything about it. Fat, bloated BUSINESS types are like that, so magazines such as Enjoy the Music.com that can turn on a proverbial dime have advantages, yet the bloated music BUSINESS can only move at a snail's pace. All the music BUSINESS had were lawsuits and rootkits and DRM and..... Even you readily admit that "The stuff many of us take for granted today was hard fought and rife with lawsuits from the RIAA and others back then, plus the dreaded Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) and Digital Rights Management (DRM) plus Sony's completely $#!& rootkit fiasco."

 

What Exactly Is Hi-Res Audio?
You missed the point of exactly what the music BUSINESS decided is Hi-Res Audio in 2014. Steven, you know where the proverbial bodies are buried over the past few decades, yet you withheld quite a bit of info. Some of it published, some of it obtained by friends who care about music as much as you do. Remember when they (Japan Audiophile Society, CEA, RIAA, Sony, The DEG, etc) first announced what specs Hi-Res Audio / Hi-Res Music would be? Remember how it included CD's Redbook standard 16-bit/44.1kHz. That's right, the music BUSINESS tried to get the three plus decade old CD digital audio resolution to be part of Hi-Res. Why didn't you mention that in your article?

Sure there was immediate backlash from many within the high-end audio industry. Don't you remember your live streaming video with David Chesky on the day those specifications were announced, where David didn't know the Hi-Res standards were published and so you had to stop recording video due to a more personal discussion? Here's a reminder to jog your memory Steven.

 

 

June 13, 2014 Enjoy the Music.com Industry News Page
Digital Entertainment Group (DEG)The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), an organization that provides a bridge from content providers and device makers to help evolve distribution of content through education and marketing, has finally agreed on exactly what is, and is not, a high-resolution audio file. DEG says that "lossless audio that is capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better than CD-quality music sources." DEG wants to ensure consumers know what they are buying and a way to define high-resolution music from lossy MP3. DEG says that the music needs to be from a PCM master source that is 20-bit/48kHz or higher or from an analog master source then mastered to higher than CD specifications. The problem is that they are also including a CD master source of 16-bit/44.1kHz that has been upsampled to higher resolution. Of course DSD/DSF master source are part of the high resolution specification. DEG worked with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the Recording Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing (RIAA), Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. Of note is that they still have no logo, as proposed over a year ago by Enjoy the Music.com's Editor and Creative Director Steven R. Rochlin. You can read Steven's article on this topic from his Memo To The Industry published over a year ago. Steven R. Rochlin says, "It deeply saddens me to see the high-end audio industry lose an opportunity to create and form proper logos and to properly define what is true high resolution audio. The DEG should not include upsampled music from a CD or 16-bit/44.1kHz source. The industry has lost the opportunity to earn millions of dollars via logo licensing, since high-end audio generally relies upon the latest technology in high resolution music and high-end audio equipment." Below are the new specifications:

MQ-A: From an analog master source.

MQ-C: From a CD master source (44.1kHz/16-bit) in which legacy CD masters are employed as source material and upsampled.

MQ-P: From a PCM master source that is 48kHz/20-bit or higher. 

MQ-D: From a DSD/DSF master source.

 

 

Does any of the above give you hope the music BUSINESS cares about Hi-Res other than (perhaps) a new way to make more money? Why did you not mention this within your Lossless Streaming Music: Welcome To 20 Years Ago article? Anyone with any sense of wisdom should have known right there and then the 'fix was in'. Why would it surprise anyone that the music BUSINESS would try to add DRM or do something, anything, to never release the true lossless master tape quality without it 'wearing a protective condom'. We all know once the very best master tape sound is available, the music BUSINESS has nothing else to sell. No more R 'n' R'ing back catalog once again, etc.

 

 

Speaking of Warner Music, didn't you know the fix was in when they started doing MQA, and then the Warner Music guy soon thereafter jumped ship to join MQA lossy compressed audio proprietary file format. Steven, you know damn well when that happens that.... And who cares if Sony kinda sorta 'stole' what you wrote about decades ago within your Interactive Music Xpo '99 report what Thomas Dolby said about online music and activities allows people to feel closer to the musical artist. It's all just a coincidence of course.

 

What Really Blew My Mind
Steven, you said, "Authentication is a major insult to all record labels, because it's like telling music consumers that they can not trust record labels and streaming music services. So if anyone ever says "authentication" to you, change it to saying "You can't trust music labels and streaming music services, but you can trust us. Trust me".

First flaw in your (twisted) logic is in trusting music labels. Should I go on about Sony's now-legendary rootkit fiasco? How about payola, or ClearChannel / iHeartRadio dominance, or.... Trust music labels, wow, you had me ROFLOL at that big pile of excrement. How about this Mr. Trust Music Labels, only days after your "Lossless Streaming Music: Welcome To 20 Years Ago" was published February 1 about trusting music labels, then on February 7th this little ditty appeared within Enjoy the Music.com's Industry News page:

 

Sony / UMG Facing Major Lawsuits Including Class Action
According to Music Business Worldwide, "Five musicians brought proposed class actions against Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York today (February 5). The legal action is based on the refusal of those two labels to 'permit recording artists to terminate grants of copyright interests 35 years after the initial release' of the artists' albums." Plaintiffs are seeking both damages for copyright infringement and declaratory relief. The Copyright Act's Section 203 (a.k.a. 35 year law) states that "Upon the effective date of termination, all rights under this title that were covered by the terminated grants revert to the author, authors, and other persons owning termination interests..." Sony is allegedly ignoring the law by not transferring the rights back to the music creator as requested via Notices of Termination. Music attorney Evan S. Cohen sent such notification to Sony and Universal, "Our copyright law provides recording artists and songwriters with a valuable, once-in-a-lifetime chance to terminate old deals and regain their creative works after 35 years. This 'second chance' has always been a part of our copyright law. Sony and UMG have refused to acknowledge the validity of any of the Notices, and have completely disregarded the artists' ownership rights by continuing to exploit those recordings and infringing upon our clients’ copyrights. This behavior must stop. The legal issues in these class action suits have never been decided by a court, and are of paramount importance to the music industry." In other music news, Kanye West is also suing Sony and UMG to buy back rights to his music. Kanye West said last year, "I went to go buy my publishing from Sony/ATV, and they said it was $8 million, $9 million. And when I went to buy it, they told me no, I couldn’t buy my publishing… I have the money to buy my publishing, and they told me that I couldn’t buy my publishing." Kanye West has filed multiple lawsuits within the Los Angeles Superior Court. While it is not clear if Kanye has legal right under the same Copyright Act's Section 203, let this be a reminder for musicians to always own their master tapes, etc, or provide a short timeline to allow major music label specific, and revocable, rights to your work.

 

 

So when you, Steven, said to trust music labels you have got to either get some serious metal help, or you're trying to make a point using illogical 'facts'. The facts are the music BUSINESS is..... How is it Qobuz has 24-bit/44.1kHz 'Hi-Res Music' files? No one records or masters to that standard really imho. It is just barely above CD, the bare minimum, so be happy as it is better than MP3. This is why we need MQA, because the company says they have music labels find the very best masters and then remastered to far higher resolution than 24-bit/44kHz. I still LOL about that low data rate being called Hi-Res, but that's what the music BUSINESS decided was Hi-Res and there's nothing you can do about it. Tough shit 'dude'.

If you don't like what's going on, then change the discussion. Perhaps you should be telling people to buy the best streaming media package, download as much Hi-Res Music as you can for $25 during the first month and then quit the streaming services until you feel you need more music. Sure, like people are going to do that! Generally speaking, they're lazy and will get tired of being proactive and finding workarounds. Just be happy we have something, anything above MP3. Even CD resolution music streaming is fine, so chillax 'dude'!

 

 

The music BUSINESS will do what best for the music BUSINESS it seems, and if that is 24-bit/44.1kHz 'Hi-Res Music' then so be it. Again it is better than Napster's free MP3 music that many people current pay over a hundred dollars a year to stream. Maybe in your next life we'll have true lossless master tape sound quality on all modern recordings and remastered work, but somehow I highly doubt it. The music BUSINESS will avoid unprotected, non-DRM or proprietary or whatever 24-bit/192kHz for as long as they can it seems and you can't do a damn thing about that. There's no big social media influencer or anyone of real value (including Neil Young) that seems to have the ability to make a difference. Just watch the Kardashians and other famous influencers who are famous for being famous and be happy in whatever the music BUSINESS kindly bestows to the world.

Apple Music powned the Grammy Awards 2019. And since Sony is now doing MQA you know Apple can't be far behind. It all may indeed come down to higher profit sharing to the BUSINESS side. Apple is truly epic at locking people into their ecosystem, and that's perfect for MQA! So lossy MQA is the new standard and get over it already Steven! At least MQA does attempt to use high quality master tapes, and which would you want: 24-bit/96kHz MQA or 24-bit/44.1kHz lossless FLAC?

Oh, and good luck with your other thing you're working on, because at some point you may have to deal with the music BUSINESS, and something tells me you're totally screwed Mr. Enjoy the Music.com. Get over yourself already will ya? You got what you deserve, bro!

 

It's not like musicians are (contractually) slaves to music labels, just ask Kanye West about it. Remember what the below guy said about....

 

 

And yes, what---ever, what really matters is that you.....

 

Enjoy the Music,

S.R.A.E.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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