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Where would we be without tjh?
A plus for Tidal - I'm not getting any breaks in playing in the middle of movements, a problem I'd thought was down to wifi rather than Qobuz.
A minus for Tidal - I don't think they've sorted out gapless playback, so there are breaks between tracks, ruinous in much classical where tracks need to play continuously.
I think, dear Paul, you may have to contemplate the idea, instead of choosing this or that streaming provider, to either subscribe to as many as possible in order to have a more complete and comprehensive approach to this kind of service or simply to compromise some of your desiderata (lower the bar).
Services is a very tricky business (you depend always on the vicissitudes of the provider's fortune) vis a vis the actual goods, but it is your choice...after all.
I guess if they ever decide to provide a variety of services (in quality, quantity, variety of choices, original or even innovative products, etc.) at various fees, one may find the closest possible service he/she is looking for.
While I don't disagree with anything you say, Parla, there are a few of us (yes, it is only a few) who are interested in identifying and subscribing to the streaming service which offers the most to the classical listener. We're in the very early days of these things, and I find it useful to compare notes with Vic (and maybe others) as to the pluses and minuses of the various offerings. I can only justify one subscription, so wish to make sure it's the right one! You are wedded to physical media - which is fair enough - and I think you can leave us to our considerations on this topic.
This whole subject is an interesting one for me, even though my interest is largely theoretical for now since neither of these services you have been discussing are available here in Greece nor are they likely to be for some time.
However trying to look at the broader picture my feeling is that however interesting the existing services are they are held back by being to some extent parasitic on the CD catalogues (to use Parla's phrase though I'm not sure I mean it in quite the same way). It seems to me that the services so far are being driven by third party providers, drawing on current CD calalogues and dragging the CD companies into their folds with varying degrees of cautious enthusiasm. They, and so inevitably Paul and Chris, and probably Vic too, are thinking of what part of the CD catalogue is available streamed from each provider.
I think the tipping point will come when the recording companies start to think in terms of streaming first. What do I mean by this:
First, when the companies start to issue recordings for streaming in the first instance, with or without a corresponding CD release.
Second, when they think first of the possibilities of the streaming format, releasing themselves from the shackles of the red-book.
Once company thinking is transformed to streaming-first, a lot can follow:
1. Bit rate. The 44.1/16 rate was specifically designed for the silver disc to enable 70+ minutes of music to be accommodated on a single disc. There is no good reason why this should be the standard bit rate for streaming. A modest increase to 48/24 would be a worthwhile alternative, but it's relatively easy to offer streaming at different rates to suit different needs. And there is no 80 minute limit!
2. Presentation. Paul and ChrisW have both mentioned the need for the booklet information. But why should streaming be trapped in the format of the CD booklet. Once free from the constraints of the CD booklet, there is a vast range of opportunities. The scope for interactive 'booklet' information is enormous: texts (and indeed scores) that couple to the music, links to the websites of performers involved and the like. Such approaches are common (look at the Gramophone website) elsewhere and make the present streaming (and downloading) options seem antedeluvian.
In short, I think streaming will really 'take-off' once the recording companies realise its full potential: also when the balance between providers of the material and streaming companies has been properly worked out. It's already worrying that Qobuz and Tidal have different strengths and weaknesses in terms of material available. No-one is going to want to have to subscribe to multiple streaming providers.
So let's see. In the meantime I'm jealous of those of you who have the chance to be in at the beginning of what I believe will be an exciting future. For now Spotify will have to suffice for me!
Paul, I agree about gapless playback as this is a big minus. Otherwise, I'm very much enjoying the service, but this minus is tipping me back towards Qobuz.
Where would we be without...
Where would we be without...
I can only imagine (alas). Made 211 attempts to go there, before the "if you have limitations, why attempt it" got out.
Paul, I just wanted to make a point for "your considerations", namely that "the best is yet to come". For now, either you lower your bar and settle for what seems to be closest to your needs or subscribe to more (competition is the inevitable rule of free market).
As our Chris (Johnson) explained in his long post, as long as the labels do not decide to change their policy as for providing their new recordings directly (and consequently exclusively) to streaming, these providers will seem as "the outsiders"...On the other hand, my suggestion was that, till the labels decide whether they will definitely and irrevocably move to the streaming services (leaving the "physical media"), these providers could be more innovative in trying to offer also something that there is not yet -or at all- in the market of the physical goods: access to live performances all over the world, produce their own recordings, create events of special interest and many more.
Anyway, I know you need a simple answer to your question on the topic of this thread. So, despite, as I see it, there is no clear answer to that sort of question, I guess I have to leave you back to "your considerations"...
Chris, I believe anyone here can thank you for your thorough post. I cannot but agree with almost anything you suggest. However, do not kid yourself: when this "exciting future" comes, there won't be one single provider, which "will have to suffice for you". The market rules are ruthless and competition dictates otherwise. Companies have to make profits above any other consideration.
Anyway, time, some sense and the forces of market will tell...
Yes, I second parla's thanks - you raise a lot of interesting issues and the future does seem wide open. I think, at the moment, the sensible way to approach streaming is the way that I've always used public libraries. Borrow many books but buy the ones that I want to be sure of always having access to, or those not available through the library.
I'm not wedded to the booklet format, but the information on Tidal is sometimes so sparse that you can't even find the performers on particular tracks. An interesting approach is the DG Discovery app, but at the moment this isn't CD quality and, astonishingly from this source, can't handle gapless playback.
I hope you get the chance to try out one of these services soon,
EMI has attempted (somewhat) interactive booklets on a series of CD operas by reissuing with CD ROM added. I admit that I did buy a couple of these, though I already have the non-interactive versions, for the notes by an O author on a K conductor. But under more common conditions, the format does not appear to add much, if any, value - even for unfamiliar music.
The USB Barenboim Ring is another non-streaming example with interactive shows, plus comic strips. Here it's a little more interesting for getting to know the music, as the pdf libretto includes the motifs on the margins at the appropriate places, with separate audio explanations. But still need a hardcopy (not included), for study purposes. Full score also missing. The (modern, dreadful) production pictures spread thruout the libretto is ruinous.
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