The Price of DSD Downloads

December 1, 2013


I don’t know about you, but I am unwilling to pay the $50 Cookie Marenco is asking for DSD downloads at her Blue Coast Records website. Although I have enjoyed some of the selections on her samplers, and they are well recorded, the selections are scant and the artists unknown. Channel Classics now has its site in beta and is asking £25 ($41) for DSD downloads of classical music selections whose performances are unreviewed, so you are buying what amounts to a well recorded pig in a poke. Chad Kassum’s downloads of predominately classic jazz performances from the 1950s and 1960s are more reasonably priced at $24.95. They may be a tough sell, however, as interested audiophiles undoubtedly already have one or more versions of the albums on LP, CD and/or SACD. Are old guard audiophiles really willing to once again replace their music collection at $25 a pop. HDTracks charges $24.95 for its high resolution PCM downloads, but you have no idea of the provenance of the recordings and whether they are simply upsampled from CDs (or for that matter cassette tapes). They have abdicated all responsibility for what they are selling you. Is a new wave of prospective young audiophiles, who are used to $0.99 downloads from iTunes and free music from elsewhere on the web, prepared to cough up these amounts, even assuming some current music becomes available in high resolution, something which is not entirely certain? The music industry self-destructed with its $18.99 CDs. Is the DSD and high-resolution download business poised to do the same?