Archive for October 12th, 2012

Did Frank Zappa Invent the Hires Music Download?

Way back in 1983, Mr. Zappa – a genius IMO – described the rudiments of an HDtracks-like service.

First, he succinctly described the problem:

Ordinary phonograph record merchandising as it exists today is a stupid process which concerns itself essentially with pieces of plastic, wrapped in pieces of cardboard. These objects, in quantity, are heavy and expensive to ship. The manufacturing process is complicated and crude. Quality control for the stamping of the discs is an exercise in futility. The system is subject to pilferage…Dissatisfied customers routinely return records because they are warped and will not play…Large numbers of people are employed in the field of ‘record promotion.’…these salaries are, for the most part, a waste of money.

Then, his proposed solution:

We propose to acquire the rights to digitally duplicate and store THE BEST of every record company’s difficult-to-move Quality Catalog Items (QCI), store them in a central processing location, and have them accessible by…direct digital-to-digital transfer…All accounting for royalty payments, billing to the customer, etc. would be automatic, built into the initial software for the system.

Sound familiar?

Of course, FZ described the details of the system in terms of then-current tech (e.g., Betamax). But the core underpinnings of today’s reality were there – even the piece about high-resolution digital transfers of archival analog media.

One sharp cookie…



Friday, October 12th, 2012 Audiophile, Bob, News Comments Off
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