[Feature] In a world dominated by disposable recorded music, delivered in many cases with only average sound quality, there is an emerging ray of hope for audiophiles. It is in fact a Blu-ray of hope, as the high-definition (HD) successor to the DVD in the video domain is also a capable carrier of multichannel audio in a variety of formats. Not only that, but with fast Internet speeds and higher-capacity “pipes” to the home, the promise of being able to download or stream high-quality surround music is rapidly being realized. So what is going on in the HD consumer audio market? We find a growing market for serious music delivered at high sampling rates and bit depths, along with a business model that enables niche recording companies to sell direct to the consumer, bypassing the middleman entirely. Of particular interest is the evidence that when there is a high-resolution version of an album available, perhaps costing more than the standard version, it can outsell the standard version by a considerable margin.
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