"Just to take and listen to music": 5 ways and formats to choose from

Music lovers, even from the recent past will not envy. Often they were forced to listen not what they wanted, but what they had to do — there was no particular choice. And now you can listen to any kind of music and do it as you like. Let's talk about this: let's analyze the main “ways of getting” music and the criteria that influence their choice.

Photo of Cyborglibrarian / CC BY-SA 2.0

1. Streaming music: convenient and cheap

Not long ago, when VKontakte allowed to find almost any music with the possibility of caching, and fought with torrent trackers not so zealously, not many could boast of willingness to pay, for example, for streaming services.

In recent years, when it has become a bit more difficult to receive illegal content, streaming services have become more common. “Vedomosti”, citing the International Federation of the Recording Industry, reports that for 2016, labeling revenues from streaming in Russia doubled, and the number of paid subscriptions increased 2.6 times. According to Vedomosti, by the end of 2016, there were more than a million paid subscriptions to music services in Russia: 600 thousand from Apple Music, 250 thousand (including CIS) from Yandex.Music and 100 thousand from Google Play Music.

Streaming services - the most affordable way to legally listen to music. A month at Apple Music costs 169 rubles, while on Google Play Music it costs 159 rubles. There are also collective subscriptions with which the “cost per person” is even lower. “Yandex.Music” can be listened to at all for free, but not in the highest quality, with advertising and without the possibility of caching. The subscription can be used on all your devices: computer, tablet, smartphone.

You can get tracks in free “Yandex.Music” with a bitrate of 192 Kbps, a paid subscription raises it to 320 Kbps. The same quality in Google Play Music, and Apple Music transmits songs with a bit rate of 256 Kbps in AAC format.

In March of this year, The Verge reported that the Spotify service is conducting closed testing of Hi-Fi music streaming. This feature costs an additional $ 10 per month to a standard fee of $ 10 per month. However, no official statements have followed since.

Streaming offers high quality ( try to listen ) now the service Tidal - FLAC 1 411 Kbps for $ 20 (1 150 rubles). Service, like Spotify, does not officially work in Russia.

2. CD: high quality and relatively inexpensive

The history of the CD was created by Phillips and Sony since 1980. One of the first releases is the album “The Visitors” of the ABBA group (1982). Compact discs have become an alternative to vinyl: they are smaller, practically do not require maintenance, and later they became more universal. With the development of CD players, it became available to the public not only at home, but also in car music systems, computers and portable players.

With the development of the Internet, CDs began to gradually lose ground. Many computers are not even equipped with a drive. Nevertheless, the CD is still one of the most convenient formats if we are talking about high-quality music. CD recordings have a bitrate of 1,411 Kbps and a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz.

New CD albums cost 600-1000 rubles. This is more expensive than buying albums in MP3 in iTunes or Google Play, but the quality is much higher. Old recordings can be bought for less than 250 rubles, used disks - even cheaper, sometimes even at a symbolic price.

3. Digital copies of albums: CD-quality due to lossless compression

Music on CDs has high sound quality, but the format is not suitable for portable listening - unless you're ready to go with a CD player. On the whole, it is more convenient to have the entire media library in the memory of a computer or smartphone than to store boxes with disks. The alternative to CD is lossless compression. As a rule, we are talking about FLAC.

The problem is that there are no stores in Russia where you can buy FLAC music, so there is often no choice - just buy a CD and cut files from it. In the West, the choice is wider, but the range of FLAC-stores can not be compared with iTunes and Google Play.

Most music in these formats - in the store HDTracks.com . Albums there cost an average of $ 20 - twice as much as new releases on a CD. Most of the albums are there, but they appear later than in the usual stores. For example, there is no album “Harry Styles”, which was released in May 2017.

In other stores, the choice of music is limited: it is either releases of a single label, or a platform for lesser-known musicians, or music of a certain genre. Examples of such stores: Bandcamp , Murfie , Linn , Beggars , Merge .

4. Vinyl - a separate story and a whole ritual: atmospheric, but expensive

The history of this format lasts for more than 100 years. Vinyl was the most popular music distribution format until CDs supplanted it.

In the early 2000s, it seemed that the format was dying out, but in the 2010s its popularity soared, and in 2016 it reached its maximum in 25 years.

Despite the increase, vinyl is still a format for connoisseurs, not for the masses. Even such famous artists as Radiohead and Daft Punk sell no more than 30 thousand copies of their albums on vinyl (in the scale of our music industry, this is a significant circulation), says co-founder of the record store Peter Chinawat.

There are still debates about what sounds better: CD or vinyl. In fact, comparing formats for sounding is incorrect: it is so different. We talked more about vinyl in our podcast. We advise you to listen to the one and the other carrier, and then make your own conclusion.

It's not just about sound quality, but also about usability. In this aspect, vinyl is inferior to other formats: the plates take up a lot of space, they need regular care . And compact discs can simply be put back into the box after listening.

On the other hand, vinyl is the atmosphere. For many connoisseurs, not only sound is important, but the whole process of listening to music. Organized record collections and the search for rare editions are a real hobby.

Prices of new records are on average about 3,000 rubles. As in the case of CD, a secondary market is developed. Sometimes it is possible to buy records almost by weight. True, their condition often leaves much to be desired.

5. "Extinct" formats: for fans of something unusual

Formats appear and disappear, but if you wish, you can listen to music on seemingly dead carriers. They have already lost practical sense, but they are still in use because of a special sound or just a desire to stand out.

From the early 1970s to the late 1990s, audio tapes were very popular along with vinyl. Now they are experiencing a "second youth." In 2016, 129 thousand licensed audio cassettes were sold in the United States - 74% more than in 2015.

Photo cassettes / CC BY 2.0

We are talking only about independent labels - major audio tapes are ignored. It is also impossible to calculate how many audio cassettes are sold on the secondary market, where music lovers with experience exchange them. For example, on eBay for $ 9, you can buy a used Thriller cassette from Michael Jackson, and an unpacked cassette will cost as much as $ 46.

“Who can resist this warm crackle during playback?” Or before a special click, when you insert a cassette into the player? I also like the process of creating my own mixtapes: I feel more involved in the process than when I just drag and drop music files onto a computer, ” said user Thomas Baker on Quora.

Records in the era of streaming music are already unusual, but there are those who excel even among fans of vinyl - admirers of shellac. Shellac records were produced from the beginning to the middle of the 20th century, then they were replaced by more practical vinyl records.

Those who want to stand out as much as possible should take a look at the wax cylinders. This format became known thanks to Thomas Edison and his phonograph, introduced in 1877. Cylinders stopped producing after 52 years, in 1929.

However, cylinders and phonographs can be found at online flea markets. In the West - on request "Phonograph cylinder". Moreover, the prices are not the highest for such a rarity. On eBay, the player is sold for 10-20 thousand rubles, and the cylinders for it - 150-300 rubles each.

We suggest summarizing the results in the form of a thematic survey and discussion in the comments.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/406781/

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