Sony and Foo Fighters Partner to Promote Hi-Res Audio
This press release came across my feed yesterday. You can read it for yourself by click here. If you go to the Sony Official News Page you’ll see the JAS Hi-Res Audio logo and a small picture of the band. So far so good, right?
According to the press release, Foo Fighters and Sony have teamed and will be “Bringing premium quality Hi-Res music experiences to music lovers the world over.” I admit I’m a fan of Foo Fighters. I think Dave Grohl is an amazing musician, producer, and genuinely cares about the sound of the band’s productions. In fact, I know he does.
The comment from Foo Fighters states:
“Preserving the human element in the recording of music has been a huge part of Foo Fighters’ mission and our commitment to High Resolution Audio is a major part of this. We’ve always wanted the flesh and blood and emotion of our songs to get through to every listener and Hi-Res Audio is the best way for our fans to hear the music as we want them to hear it: in its purest quality and truest form.”
Sony will be engaging in various marketing initiatives aimed at further promoting Foo Fighters and Hi-Res Audio, leveraging the power of Hi-Res Foo Fighters songs worldwide, including in Japan, the US, Europe, Latin America, and Asia.
Sony has been leading the way in High-Res Audio over the past few years. I may disagree with their focus on the DSD format but I am very pleased that they are partnering with creatives to ensure that we get the best fidelity from our favorite bands. The original master tapes of Foo Fighters 1995 debut album are going to be made available in higher resolution PCM bit buckets. I would call these “high-res transfers” because they represent the original masters as the artist intended. We’re getting high-resolution PCM digital copies of the source masters.
Bravo to Sony and the band. But the message of the press release also carries a confusing and contradictory message. Sony is a hardware company. They were the ones behind the gold and brown Hi-Res Audio logo…the one that was given to the JAS (Japan Audio Society) and then offered to US companies through the CEA. The one displayed on the press release. The one that refers to hardware ONLY. The headline should then be read as a partnership on the new Sony Hi-Res Audio hardware products. The idea of “bringing premium quality Hi-Res music experiences” would involve the new RIAA logo, right?
Foo Fighters have a strong commitment to “High-Resolution Audio” but what about the production of “High-Resolution Music”.
The third paragraph of the release describes it this way, “Hi-Res Audio – a format which faithfully reproduces the original recording, and enables users to enjoy music the way the artists truly intended.” More confusion as I read it. HRA is not a format at all. It’s a descriptive label that identifies hardware components that meet a rigid set of requirements…essentially 96 kHz/24-bit PCM and input and output to 40 kHz. But it only applies to hardware as I’ve read and been told.
Figure 1 – The two logos for high-res audio and music.
But wait a minute, last December 18th the CEA issued its own press release announcing their collaboration with the JAS on “High-Res Audio Promotions”. The opening sentence states:
“The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® and the Japan Audio Society (JAS) today announced a new partnership to help promote and support the marketplace growth of High-Resolution Audio (Hi-Res Audio or HRA) devices and content.”
So maybe content is included?
And now we have two logos. One that applies a strict set of technical requirements to hardware…except when it applies to content with “better than CD specs” (except when the source is a CD itself!). And let’s not forget that the RIAA introduced a new logo that will be associated exclusively with content…the hi-res music. Isn’t that what Foo Fighters are creating?
It just doesn’t seem to me that everyone is on the same page. Is it really that difficult to decide on a single logo, a single definition, a single message, and have everyone promote it? Apparently not.
12 thoughts on “Sony and Foo Fighters Partner to Promote Hi-Res Audio”
Dazed and confused/the song remains the same.
Maybe they don’t even want to agree on a single message, one single logo….
By the way – I am a bit concerned about your term ‘highres transfers’.
People could easily understand, that the files are transferred from (!) highres.
Wouldn’t it be better to call it ‘transferred to highres’?
Thanks for the link.
It will be a major accomplishment if I can convince the powers that be to go with Hi-Res Transfers for analog tape to high-res PCM digital.
IMHO Sony’s just trying to get on the gravy train though a little late. In the end they see a premium priced hirez itunes, premium price hardware to support it, etc, etc. It just surprises me that they were so slow to see the $ potential? Maybe they just sat back for a while and let others pump in the promotional money to get Joe user to start talking about and showing interest in HDA?
End of day, lots of money to be made upsampling the 1960-2000 rock catalogs into huge bit buckets, convincing buyers it sounds better, and selling it to the baby boomers one more time before we all croak.
I would not be so hard on Sony…of all of the manufacturers, Sony has been very aggressive in promoting high-resolution audio devices and content. They even included iTrax.com in their initial roll out several years ago. I applaud them for that. The continuing confusion about logos and definitions is not entirely on Sony.
I’ve been travelling on the Subway / Underground / Tube in London over the past few weeks and it is interesting to see that Sony are actually advertising “Hi Res Audio” as part of the reason why we should buy their latest Xperia phones – they use the slogan – “I can hear things you can’t”. This has to be good for those of us that want to get music released in “High Res” . I know it does not necessarily always mean that the music is truly “High Res” but to get more people thinking about it might at least give us some hope that the industry will provide music in the best resolution available rather than just MP3…..
Interesting. I think the CE manufacturers have developed hardware devices that far outstrip the fidelity of the sources that are being played through them.
I give a “Like” to the term you are coining, High-Res transfers, to better identify music converted from analog master tapes to digital with the technical understanding that the digital format is a larger bit bucket and is not true high resolution.
Currently, the industry’s term High-Res Audio is commonly used to identify both the above music as well as music in true 88.2/96kHz/24-bit or greater resolution. This over generalization has led to consumer confusion and rightful accusations that many so-called High-Res Audio downloads just aren’t. Your term High-Res transfers helps to solve this problem by identifying digital music derived from standard format analog sources.
Just a comment that Dave Grohl directed and appeared in an HBO miniseries, Sonic Highways. He comes across as a serious musician who is genuinely interested in the quality and preservation of our musical heritage. Grohl described the miniseries as, “his love letter to the history of American music.” It’s worth watching.
Thanks Phil…I going to reach out to Dave Grohl as well. I have a connection.
By now I only see the identification and labeling problem getting worse, the confusion to the benefit of the sellers of music. As Mark’s numerous posts and quotations prove, very few principals in the music business have the training and electronics theory background to understand, accurately, what they are talking about much less any ability to truthfully explain the complex chain of production to customers. The numerous catchy phrases and labels do nothing to clarify the situation. The “icons” or “labels” need to give way to actual descriptions of the actual resolution of each process in the production chain. I would call this a track’s or album’s “pedigree.” Now, all the interpretation as to what to call a particular process with a particular resolution has vanished. It’s like the ingredients label on ketchup. “We’ll tell you exactly what’s there, how it got there, and you decide if it’s what you want and what it might be worth to you.”
I’ve been pushing “provenance” for years and it seems to have caught on…next step is getting the labels to provide the information.
Mark, has it ever been easy? VHS vs Betamax, Mini Disc Vs Digital Cassette [don’t even remember the name, they closed out the machines dirt cheap, but can you get the media?] Then DVD-A vs SACD.
It seems they are never on the same page.
I’ll say this, if/when I get the PC capable of downloading and storing music, I will be way more aware of what I’m buying. And I’m leaning towards PCM, rather than DSD. I like media I can hold, and may stay with that, I am 60. I am going to get a HDMI de-embedder, to at least transfer the original digital data from my Oppo to my dac.
You are doing a good job educating your readers, we just have to get the word out to a larger audience.
Get this, a guy on our local college radio station has a weekly half hour show where he and some other guy discuss, a variety of things. They started talking about hi-rez music, and he says nobody cares about that, “even I don’t care about that”. Oh, I wrote them a letter. The station is filled with volunteer music lovers, many who must care. I was mad, I was outraged by such a foolish statement. That is what we are up against.
Thanks for the note…maybe the world doesn’t care about quality.