Are MP3s good enough quality for music?
According to soundtrack composer and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, MP3s are good enough for everybody but "thirty-something men who lurk in hi-fi shops, discussing signal purity and oxygen-free cables and FLACs".
He made the comment in a New Yorker interview, as part of their series on the "sound of sound", Dithering.
Greenwood argues that MP3s are fine for most music:
They sound fine to me. They can even put a helpful crunchiness onto some recordings. We listened to a lot of nineties hip-hop during our last album, all as MP3s, all via AirTunes. They sounded great, even with all that technology in the way. MP3s might not compare that well to a CD recording of, say, string quartets, but then, that’s not really their point.
Greenwood suggests that the sound quality of MP3s is less a concern than the way they encourage people to "horde" music:
People are encouraged to own far more music than they can ever give their full attention to. People will have MP3s of every Miles Davis’ record, but never think of hearing any of them twice in a row—there’s just too much to get through. You’re thinking, “I’ve got ‘Sketches of Spain and ‘Bitches Brew’—let’s zip through those while I’m finishing that e-mail.” That abundance can push any music into background music, furniture music.
Sadly, I think I probably fall into the middle-aged cable-talker category!
What do you think? Are MP3s good enough for everybody but middle-aged audio geeks?
Image: Public Domain