Rdio Is Converting Their Entire Catalogue to AAC…

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Rdio is now offering streaming music at 320 kbps, which competitors Spotify, Beats Music, and Deezer already do. Rdio has also started converting their whole catalogue to the AAC format, which offers better sound quality than the MP3. Wimp also offers an AAC catalogue, but they are only available in a few European countries.

Rdio says they will continue to “raise the bar” on streaming quality in places with stable networks.  They’ll also work on their delivery in markets with inconsistent networks.

These changes come from an “Artists For Quality” initiative from The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir.  Rdio has joined the initiative “to commit to both artists and music fans to establish the highest standard of streaming quality in the digital music space“.

When Nina Ulloa isn’t writing for DMN she’s usually reviewing music or at a show. Follow her on Twitter.

12 Responses

  1. jw

    I think this is great. It seems like they’re pushing towards full resolution streaming, which I think is going to be a big draw for premium streaming services.

  2. good choice

    iTunes is AAC from the start, I don’t understand why other stores didn’t follow. It sounds much better than MP3.

  3. PiratesWinLOL

    WiMP doesn’t just offer the AAC format, but also FLAC. However, it is too bad that it for some absurd reason cost extra. We are in 2014 already now and it should be the standard of all streaming. I can’t see any reason for still using the lossy formats for home listening. It is not like anyone in the civilized world use 2 mbit connections these days. On mobile phones, obviously it will have to wait a bit more.

    • jw

      The music streaming situation is pretty absurd. Netflix just launched 4k streaming at like 15mbps, & somehow it’s big news that a music streaming service finally upgraded to 320kbps. Jesus christ.

      FLAC should be the standard, no question about it. The difference between Netflix & tv manufacturers is that they create demand for quality, the music industry has done no such thing for decades. Netflix is ahead of the curve, the music industry is miles & miles behind the curve, & I blame the record labels 100%. If the labels were out of the picture, the recorded music industry would be in a completely different & all together better situation.

    • Casey

      Several reasons come to mind for continuing to use lower bitrates. The primary reason is probably because labels wouldn’t allow flac or could possibly demand higher licensing rates. Streaming flac would also be more expensive from a bandwidth perspective, which is a valid concern when most services operate in the red. And not just mobile would have issues with a higher bitrate, but also anyone who listens while at work. Streaming in flac would be an excellent way to get blacklisted by the IT department. A lot of companies already block 64kbps Pandora. On top of that you have usage caps and slower connections that would congest every time a song is buffered. Not just slow ~2Mbps connections, even 10Mbps would have noticeable spikes in latency every time a song buffers, making it unideal to listen while doing ping-sensitive activities, like gaming. In reality flac streaming would be pretty niche. No point in going through all the bother for something few people would likely use. To most people, 192kbps and above sounds more than adequate.

      • jw

        Those are good points. Another huge problem is ISPs refusal to upgrade their networks relative to demand in order to force bandwidth-intensive websites to pay underwrite the expansion. There was an article on Vox yesterday about how Netflix had to pay Comcast to build out Netflix-exclusive connectivity in order to head off declining performance for their users. After agreeing to pay the extortion fee, Comcast users experienced a 67 percent improvement in Netflix streaming performance.

        Things are really screwed up when a consumer can pay outrageous amounts of money to an ISP for access to Netflix, & the ISP can intentionally provide poor service. In order for the consumer to actually get what he or she THINKS he or she is paying for, the content provider has to pay huge extortionist fees to each ISP behind the scenes.

        I agree that casual flac streaming, especially in a work environment, could be an issue, but there’s no reason that it really should be, except for ISPs’ effective monopolies.

        Spotify isn’t in the position to buy high-speed access for its users, moving them off of the standard, clogged pipeline. It doesn’t have the subscription numbers to justify it.

        This is why artists have a huge incentive to support net neutrality, & not just net neutrality as it stands, but expanded net neutrality that disallows peering agreements.

        Hopefully Google Fiber will change the game.

        • mp3aac

          It’s generally recognized that the human ear can’t tell much if any difference between 192 and 320, it’s just that aac is better for network quality than mp3.
          No one I know hear any difference between streaming on beats, spotify, rhapsody, google play or rdio.
          Majors want $$$ for FLAC streaming and as mentioned before, the costs associated with that work would be enormous considering how few people pay for subscriptions,

    • jw

      The codec doesn’t matter, especially in terms of streaming. And competition actually encourages innovation.

      If it weren’t for competing codecs, we’d be stuck with DRM and all sorts of nonsense. But FLAC will eventually win out because it’s free and open source.

  4. Willis

    Digital music, no matter what format, is killing music. Sure, you could make it sound better by using a different file type, but the importance of music is lost on most people if there is nothing physical to value. If they can’t see it, feel it or smell it, then it doesn’t have the same value as a physical product.

  5. Jonas357

    There is already a fully FLAC streaming music service in Europe with enormous catalog, it is QOBUZ and it is definitively now the best service in the world.