Is iTunes About to Start Selling Hi-Res Music, or Is a Record Label Confused?

07/16/2014

I came across a curious announcement from Warner Classics this morning. They say that they will be releasing some music in high definition on iTunes. Talking about some remastered albums by Herbert van Karajan, they say:

This treasure trove has been painstakingly remastered at London’s Abbey Road Studios in 24-bit/96kHz from the original tapes, available for the first time as digital, high-definition releases via iTunes.

Two possibilities. The first is that the iTunes Store will start selling music in high-resolution, 24-bit 96 kHz. The other is that Warner Classics is simply confused, or is trying to pull one over on music consumers. They talk about these albums being “remastered at London’s Abbey Road Studios in 24-bit/96kHz from the original tapes,” which is generally the case for recordings that are remastered from analog these days. But I think they assume that, if the remastering was done at 24/96, then the resulting files on the iTunes Store will also be at 24/96.

If it were true that the iTunes Store were to start selling high-resolution files, this wouldn’t leak in a now day-old news release from a record label, but would be announced with a fair amount of fanfare by Apple. So my money is on a record label that either doesn’t understand, and are just talking about Mastered for iTunes tracks, which use high-resolution masters, or that is trying to confuse consumers to make them think that they’re getting high-resolution music from iTunes.

For now, none of these albums are available on the iTunes Store, so we’ll have to wait and see.