Ever since 1983 and the ascendance of the CD, we've all been waiting for the next big thing, the next format. Something that was easier, used less plastic, sounded better, was more immersive. Something that made us feel even more of the music.
There have been plenty of new characters appearing on the horizon. SACD, DVD Audio, Audio on DVD discs, Pur Audio/Blu Ray.....but each of them was slain by one dragon or another. Whether the misguided attempts to copy protect (SACD), or the reliance on an expensive and arcane authoring and manufacturing system, each has largely been relegated to a niche market.
All the while the 44.1k/16 bit leviathan kept lumbering on.
Well finally...>FINALLY we seem to be moving on. It's not a single format that's doing the trick, but an amalgam of established and new formats that offer enough high and higher fidelity delivery to consumers that we are gradually surpassing the CD as the singular preferred delivery.
The modern paradigm includes:
Loudness normalized streaming (iTunes radio)
Blu Ray Audio
Surround Audio embedded in html5 web streams
Higher fidelity standard iTunes with Soundcheck enabled
Bandcamp allowing PCM downloads.....
and this is just the beginning. The pipe gets ever wider into the consumer's ear and the reason to compress data gradually disappears.....
Now I deliver 24 bit files to clients as a matter of course....and more of them want the 88.2/96k versions.
I think we're turning the corner. The end of the peak normalized era is around the corner. Putting Youtube out of the music delivery business would be a HUGE step in the right direction. At least getting them to buy into ATSC/85 - BSS 1770.3 ....That will take some time.
We're finally getting somewhere folks. I'm looking forward to a future full of immersive music!