You ever try Bluebeat.com for steaming music? it streams at 320 or better, doesnt sound too bad and it is free.
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Your friend may not need or want the help you're offering, but the first thing you should point out to him is that CDs "stream" at 1400 kbps, so those Internet streams have lost more than 90% of the data in the original. Given that, it's really rather remarkable how good they manage to sound anyway.
The other thing I'd say is that anyone who really sits down and listens will hear a difference. But if you're not "just listening"--if you've got music playing while you're doing something else--you're probably not going to notice the difference. Depending on your friend's listening habits, 128kbps may be good enough for him.