The band Phish were one of the first bands* to offer their live concerts available for sale and download online the day after the performance. Now, they’re once again leading the pack by offering HD audio (three times the definition of CD audio) downloads, starting with their upcoming Festival 8 shows.
I hope this becomes a trend with digital music, as personal storage space and bandwidth keep growing. MP3 was developed at a time when hard drives were much smaller, and dial-up was still the norm. Sacrifices in sound quality were made to obtain smaller file sizes. Today, that’s no longer a necessity, yet the default standard in digital audio remains lower-quality file formats. It’s time we moved passed MP3 (and AAC, even though it’s better than MP3, it’s still lossy compression) for better formats.
I do think their price point may be a little high (twice the MP3 price, one and a half times the FLAC price) for what the demand will be, but we’ll see. I may download the Festival 8 shows just to see how good they sound (of course, the performances themselves are bound to be worth the download).
*They’re the first band that I know of that did this, but I can’t say whether or not they’re the first ever to do it.