Apple may be planning on adding high-resolution music downloads to iTunes as part of a planned revamp of it’s download music service. The new offering would be made up of lossless 24-bit audio files that Apple has already been receiving from record companies for several years.
Music blogger Robert Hutton:
For several years, Apple have been insisting that labels provide files for iTunes in 24 bit format – preferably 96k or 192k sampling rate. So they have undeniably the biggest catalog of hi-res audio in the world.
Hutton, citing the ever-popular “unknown source” says the hi-res iTunes downloads will debut in early June, possibly at WWDC. He claims the Led Zeppelin remasters in high-resolution will be the kickoff event. Apple will also flip the switch and launch their hi-res music store in iTunes at the same time. Songs will be priced a dollar more than current prices.
Apple has reportedly been in talks with music label for several years, pushing to offer music in the 24-bit format in a bid to enhance the quality of the downloads iTunes offers. Apple currently sells music files in 16-bit lossy AAC format encoded at 256 kbps to minimize file size.
While 24-bit downloads are said to offer a higher quality listening experience, the file sizes are much larger.
Apple has been encouraging artists to submit their music in the 24-bit 96kHz resolution format for years. It uses the files to “create more accurate encodes.” If Apple has been collecting the hi-res files for years, it would have a large catalog of high quality files to offer for sale when they flip the switch.