Nice start and I wish them well, but the real question is what will the selection and the pricing be like and then will it sell in any kind of numbers.
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Remember when everyone thought that the WALKMAN was the greatest thing? Didn't take long for that to go the way of the Dodo Bird. Oh yeah, what about those DAT players and mini discs! Snooze.
Four to six years from now you will able to stream any resolution you like from the "Cloud" and you will be kicking yourself for buying into a temporary technology.
The Cloud is the end game, not a portable player out putting upsampled files that are not really very high quality, just re-packaged analog files.
Don't get fooled into thinking that any of these new venues/suppliers are giving you anything that is even close to a Hi-Resolution music file. The so called 24/96 and 192kHz Masters that Pono/HDTracks/Apple and others promote are only "up sampled" from analog tape. These are the same Masters that have been around for decades. Every few years they get a bug up their ass and re-issue to the masses the same old compressed and low resolution music they have the rights to.
Do you really think the Stones, Beatles, Floyd, Monk, Coltrane, Sinatra, Evans, Basie etc, etc. recorded anything over 14-16 bit? Let alone 24/96kHz! Yet these Flim Flam promoters want you to believe that they have files that will produce music in the ultra sonic realm.(22kHz or more for hi res) all they have done is increased the file size (adding eight zeros to increase the word lenth from 16 to 24) but not the resolution. You cannot get high frequency music to magically appear when artificially up sampled when it was never on the master to begin with. IMPOSSIBLE! This whole diversion/misdirection borders on being a criminal act.
Even the new music which might be done with digital workstation is highly compressed and down sampled for release to a 16 bit 44.1kHz resolution.
There are only a handful of true sources that record and master in true 24/96 or 24/192 and DSD. THEY ARE NOT PARTICIPATING IN THIS MOVEMENT WITH Apple, PONO, Sony, etc. They are audiophile labels that produce music that the masses have never heard of, by bands or groups/individuals that are unknown, except by us audiophiles. If they listened, they would probably think....what is this crap!
IMO, the broader public and the major labels really could care less about the small audiophile market that can and would appreciate what a Hi-Resolution system can sound like and only a limited amount of people are willing to spend the money to support it.
All of this is just a big money grab by the major labels and a few well connected individuals and manufacturers to sell the same old music and the newer compressed low fidelity music wrapped up in the debatetable (insert buzzword) hi res, hdaudio, high definition, Super Hi Rez, blah, blah blah format.
How many times are we supposed to re-buy our music collections and the sound may not be any better. Now you won't even have the physical media to hold onto and possibly re-sell if you don't like it.
"Do you really think the Stones, Beatles, Floyd, Monk, Coltrane, Sinatra, Evans, Basie etc, etc. recorded anything over 14-16 bit? "
They did not record to any digital format, they all used open reel tape. And if the original tapes are available and in good condition, it is certainly desirable to transfer those to the best possible digital format.
I have been enjoying very much the latest releases of ELP, King crimson, Jethro Tull, etc. that have been done by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree fame. Give a listen to these and see if you don't agree...
"Oh yeah, what about those DAT players and mini discs! Snooze."
Tom, if you've ever listened to a DAT or MiniDisc player you would know that the fidelity they provide is far superior to even the best analog tape medium. And they are portable, just try lugging around an open reel deck to get your musical jollies.
Well done hi-res music sounds incredible and having these available in a digital format allows one to enjoy the music at home or on the go.
I do understand the ridiculous limitations placed upon consumers of digital files. And for this reason I do not participate in purchasing downloaded files. As long as a physical medium is available (SACD, DVD-A, Bluray) the consumer gets the benefit of having very high quality music available and can re-sell the disc if need be...
Audioengr- Because he is a savvy enough capitalist not to want to absorb all the risk on his own? Not to mention, doesn't that approach also sort of give it a kind of "grass roots" appeal? You know, something the "Occupy Warner Bros." crowd could get behind; so it's also a marketing ploy not exclusively a funding tactic. (IMO, of course)
if the analog masters are used and new material is recorded at 24/192 then there is hope.
The Record labels are not going to spend any money remastering albums. They will use their current masters which are of varying formats and bump them to the required standard used by Pono and iTunes, either 24/96 or 24/192.
I can foresee a few major bands remastering albums for HiRez services, one being Neil Young.
For the record, wishing them well does not mean I will pay a penny for any proprietary/drm'ed files. I also fully expect, unfortunately, that as noted above, the files will simply be uprezzed crappy masters that will be a waste of time.
I have really been enjoying Universal's new flat transfers out of Japan - it just goes to show that in most cases no mastering is preferable to letting the tone deaf engineers operating the controls in the studios "master" the music.