Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Apple goes rotten!

I like Apple's products.  I only own an iPod, but I've used their laptops, desktops, iPad, etc, and they're all extremely well designed and powerful.  Good stuff.

I won't get into the debate here on whether or not Apple's products are worth the premium in price that everyone pays for them over other comparable products.  That's for each individual to decide on their own, and since Apple's products sell very well, obviously many people believe they are worth the extra cost...

The point of this article actually has nothing to do with Apple's hardware.  It has to do with their iTunes digital music service and what's going on there. 

I was in iTunes shopping for an album the other day, and I noticed something astonishing.  Apple has raised the price of many of their popular digital albums to $16.99!  This is a dramatic jump in price from their previous level, and is now far higher than their online competitors like's MP3 service and the cost of comparable physical CD's!

Apple has gone rotten.  Not only is this an awful move from the perspective of their customers, but it's also completely unrealistic.  Here's my viewpoint on this...

Physical CD's still sound better than digital music files.  This is something that's feverishly debated on the Internet, but the truth is simple:  CD's sound better than digital files.  If you want to see for yourself, take a CD and a well ripped MP3 file of the same CD, get yourself on a good stereo, match the volumes of both recordings, and play them back switching between the two sources at high listening volume.  You will clearly hear that CD's sound better than digital files because digital music formats drop too much data during the compression process.  You'll hear it in the clarity of the low and high end of the recording.  Enough said here...

So back to the pricing thing...Apple has now raised the price of some of their digital albums higher than the physical CD of the same recording!  Yes, you are paying more for an inferior music format!  I have to ask myself why people would pay more for something that's less, but I'm sure they will's Apple!

There's a few problems with this...

First, CD's still sound better, so why pay more for less?

Second, Apple's AAC file format can't be modified in any way to optimize their music files.  I have found many times that the volume setting contained in the header information of Apple's digital files are set far too high.  When they play back with any EQ on them, they distort even on Apple's own devices!  Bad!  You're much better off buying MP3 files so you can use a simple tool like MP3Gain to reset the volume setting on your digital files to the right level with one click of a button.

I could go on about why iTunes is slipping, but I don't want this to become a technical article...

Bottom line:  If you're buying digital music files, get them from's MP3 service instead.  The data rate on the files is higher (meaning, they sound better than Apple's AAC files), they are MP3 format which can be modified to suit your needs, and the big one.........Amazon is half the price of Apple!  Yes, half the price!

Apple.....Wake up!  The iTunes service and the digital files within it, although very popular, are far behind the times when considered from the viewpoint of a serious music fan.  Even though I like Apple, I can only hope that users of iTunes see this price increase as a huge slap in the face and stop purchasing from Apple in droves.  That will hopefully drive Apple's digital music prices right back down to realistic levels.


  1. your post is too funny. i noticed the same thing and was thinking wtf? are they nuts? your site is sometimes funny. i like the mix of photo stuff and observations on the real world. i'll keep track of your posts.

  2. For this reason, Apple sucks.