MP3 Popularity Points the Way to Go for Musicians

MP3 Popularity Points the Way to Go for Musicians

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It wasn’t until Apple released its now iconic iPod gadget in 2002 that MP3 became so ubiquitously popular.   It was inferior to the CD in quality but the public didn’t mind because even on a blind A/B test, the quality distinction is not a heaven and hell thing.  For sure, even metal cassette recordings were no better than MP3 music.

It was around this that an audio format war started to take the limelight out of MP3.  This is the high resolution format Super Audio CD or SACD and the DVD-Audio which was a variant of the DVD file format on video.

True enough, they proved to have superior audio qualities but cost about twice each for the few esoteric jazz and classical titles that made sure only the snub elite among audiophiles will bother to get. About five years down the road, by 2007, both formats were considered either dead or niche market formats enjoying only a few audiophile fans.

CD versus Digital Downloads

But the lowly MP3 endured as well as the CD.  But as we all know, the CD is also another dying breed.  Just about all the record stores across the globe have closed shop, culminating in the bankruptcy filing and closure of the mighty Tower Records and all its branches worldwide in 2007.  UK’s Virgin media store followed suit and just about all independent record shops that depended on CD sales revenues have fallen by the wayside, so to speak.

While CD sales still accounted for roughly 64% of all music albums sold as of 2009 the continued decline in CD sales since 2000 coupled with the relentless growth of digital music downloads over the internet has made clear that the CD is on its way out.

For musicians and budding artists, the implication is clear.  Getting your work published online will soon carry more weight in terms of promotional and commercial value than using physical package media distribution.

While there’s still Amazon and CDUniverse that sell CD albums online, you can safely consider them as the last bastion for CD sales.  The new business model today is music downloading. Whether it is from iTunes with its average $0.99 per song charging, from a paid membership or subscription that allows you unlimited music downloads free of charge or from file sharing P2P torrent sites, making sure you have an internet presence for your musical talents is the way to go.

These downloads are MP3 downloads with bitrates anywhere from 128Kbps to the highest near-CD quality 320Kbps.  There are also lossless FLAC music files you can download from some music blogs and P2P torrents. These are mostly for people with higher listening thresholds of satisfaction especially if they are played on high fidelity homes systems.

But for the majority of the market, a mid-bitrate MPE3 file at 192Kbps can already be too good for most portable MP3 players and their mid-fidelity stereo earphones.

Budding artists planning on uploading their music creations in music websites for free, would do well to transcode their WAV recordings into MP3 files.  If you want to preserve their fidelity, you can also upload via FLAC files but you get a limited market for that even if downloaded for free.

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