Thanks to Apple, the going rate for digital music stands at 99 cents per song. If anything, pricing has gotten more competitive. So what's the deal with startup MusicGiants, which intends to charge more? The issue, they claim, is that MP3s and other digital formats compress audio files so much that they sound terrible on real stereo equipment. So the company is bringing to market an online service that provides "CD quality" digital music. (The standard of CD quality is funny, considering how people used to complain about its inferiority. Maybe they'll complain that the next technology isn't "MP3 quality.") Songs from MusicGiants will cost $1.29, there's a $50 annual fee, and you can buy a $9,500 device to store and play the large digital files on your stereo without going through your PC. As the article points out, the company is dealing with a fairly limited audience of audiophiles for now, but pumps this as the future of digital music. Maybe, but it's still a difficult proposition. Will people who really want "CD quality" go through all the hoops of extra cost and equipment and time-consuming downloads? Here's a suggestion for those who want "CD quality" music: buy a CD! And if you want computer-like playback flexibility, you can always rip music from CDs in full audio quality. All in all, this getup sounds pretty burdensome for not much benefit.
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