Why Major Record Labels Are Touting High-Resolution Music

MusicAlly presents a transcript of a discussion among representatives from Universal, Sony, and Warner Music about high-resolution music. These major labels are jumping on the high-res bandwagon.

Of course they are. Because they see it as a way of getting music fans to buy their favorite music again, just like when the CD was introduced. The difference is, however, that CDs did sound better than vinyl (and still do), and, even though there was rampant price gouging, the result was better, more durable recordings. With high-res music, most people won’t hear a difference, unless they have very good audio equipment. And since the majority of music is streamed, or listened to on Bluetooth speakers, it’s just a waste of money.

But the record industry is going full propaganda. For example:

… the devices that support hi-res audio are becoming much more affordable… it’s no longer [just] high-end premium audio for audiophiles… Portability and affordability, I think, are two amazing factors to capture that opportunity and to make hi-res audio more accessible to younger generations.


We’re talking about Gen X and Gen Z that are now discovering this hi-res audio. You saw it in the resurgence of vinyl sales that was mostly driven by the young generation…

“Younger generations” are streaming music, they won’t have the bandwidth for high-res, and they certainly don’t have the hardware. Thinking that they will shows that the music industry is once again trying to create an alternate reality.

This delusion is especially evident in this statement by Morvan Boury, VP of global digital development for Sony Music:

It’s very important that if you ask your Sony speaker or your Google Home speaker or your Alexa speaker ‘I want the hi-res version of Beethoven’s Symphony’, that you actually get it…

Not only are these cheap speakers, but they’re not even stereo. Sure, some people may stream from a device like this to a stereo, but I think that number is very low. Pretending that high-res makes a difference on an Alexa or Google Home speaker (or Apple’s coming HomePod) shows that these people are living in a land of make-believe.

High-resolution music has it’s pros and cons. Some think it’s great, others don’t see the need. (Listen to this episode of The Next Track podcast for a cogent discussion of the good and bad of high-res.) But these people from record labels are pretending that it’s somehow magical, that it will sound better on a smartphone with earbuds, or on an Alexa speaker. All they want to do is take your money.