Jonathan Berger, professor of music at Stanford this week revealed the results of a multi-year survey he’s been running:
Students were asked to judge the quality of a variety of compression methods randomly mixed with uncompressed 44.1 KHz audio. The music examples included both orchestral, jazz and rock music. When I first did this I was expecting to hear preferences for uncompressed audio and expecting to see MP3 (at 128, 160 and 192 bit rates) well below other methods (including a proprietary wavelet-based approach and AAC). To my surprise, in the rock examples the MP3 at 128 was preferred. I repeated the experiment over 6 years and found the preference for MP3 – particularly in music with high energy (cymbal crashes, brass hits, etc) rising over time.
In other words, the present and future consumers of music now prefer inferior sound quality! First, crappy music (yes, I said it) and now crappy SOUNDING crappy music!
What’s next? Have them pay for something they don’t use? Well Comcast has beat you to THAT!