Wired: Lossless Will Not Destroy MP3s


We’re fans of high quality audio. But we agree that even low bit-rate MP3s serve a purpose, even if they sound a little funky: they’re portable, they work on all kinds of devices, and they have no DRM. So we totally understand where Wired is coming from when they list five reasons why lossless (or uncompressed) music will not kill the MP3 format, despite some pundits’ claims.

Sure, expensive flash memory is the future (meaning that storage prices will remain high), there are too many lossless formats, and customers like to save money—those are all good reasons why MP3s are here to stay. But Wired really has it right with reason number three: MP3s sound good enough most of the time.

The thing is—and we’re surprised that more people don’t realize this—the MP3 isn’t replacing the CD. The MP3 is replacing the cassette. (Or rather, it *has* replaced it; it did that years ago.) The cassette was about portability, convenience, cost, and the easy ability to make mix tapes. The MP3 is better on all fronts, and obviously sounds better than cassettes to boot—even if it’s not a perfect replica of a CD.

So the next time you load up your cell phone with 500 music tracks, think about how many cassettes you would have needed, and how long it would have taken you to make all of those mix tapes. Lossless is great for the home, where 500GB USB drives cost $99 and people have nice stereo systems. But MP3s are perfect for the road.

(Image credit: Clipart.com)