THE LEFSETZ LETTER: WIMP Comes To America

Are you willing to pay twice as much to stream in lossless?


Late last night doing my back exercises I decided to compare streaming services. Spotify is my default, I recreated a playlist in Beats Music and then I did the same thing in WIMP, and I was wowed.


Now let's be clear, getting lossless music from Norway ain't that easy, there are streaming interruptions, which is why I decided to sync/download the tracks, and they were a REVELATION!


I'm a big believer we get the music we deserve, that the reason compressed beat-driven music dominates is it's the only thing that sounds good on the listening devices we're employing. In other words, you're not gonna get a new James Taylor if you've got to listen to compressed music on your phone via earbuds. But if you improved the quality of the sound would that not only make people take more care in the creation of sounds, but also branch out and put an effort into that which today is so often a second-class citizen?


Now I'm not talking 256kbps, never mind 320. Lossless is equivalent to CD. And we can debate all day long the difference between analog and digital, whether vinyl is superior to CDs, but the truth is despite being tactile, vinyl is not portable, unless you're at home it's a pain in the ass, and even there…


You hear instruments you didn't know were there when you listen in lossless. They become rich, three-dimensional.


Are you willing to pay for this privilege?


In other words, if you're refusing to pay for Spotify Premium, making a ton of excuses about the sound, are you willing to pay double for WIMP? Despite so few investing in Pono, despite you trumpeting it as the solution, it's really not, because files are already dead, we live in the land of streaming, get over it.


And when one entity pushes the ball forward, it forces all competitors to follow in their footsteps, because so much in tech is a commodity, and if you're substandard, you fail.



So this is less about WIMP and more about music in general. Who knows what streaming service will survive, but if WIMP lifts all boats sound-wise that's good for everybody.


In other words, the techies are not our enemy, don't listen to the Luddites and the wannabes who want to believe that music will only be healthy when we return to the days of yore, when you paid ten bucks for an album in a physical format and there was a middle class of acts, despite most music makers being unable to participate.


Remember that canard that Napster meant no one would make any music, it would drive all players out? What a bunch of crap that was. Our problem is too much music, even if something is good, oftentimes you cannot find it under the tsunami of product.


Boomers will remember buying behemoth stereos to get closer to the sound, bringing their friends over to see their jaws drop, seeing that Maxell ad in every magazine.


The song remains the same. Quality sound is a revelation.


Once you've got WIMP lossless, you want better headphones, you want to spread the word, all the while having a smile on your face.


From MusicAlly Daily Bulletin:


WiMP takes its high-def streaming service to US and UK as Tidal


Scandinavian streaming music service WiMP is launching in the US and UK, and sensibly, has come up with a new brand that has less connotations of weakness. The new service will be called Tidal, and it launches in the autumn. The key selling point will be audio quality: 25m tracks at lossless quality, with 75,000 HD videos and editorial content thrown in too, like the WiMP HiFi service in Scandinavia. This will come with a price to match: $19.99 / ?19.99 a month for subscribers, who'll be able to access Tidal through web browsers and iOS / Android apps. 'Initially, streaming was all about access to everything, everywhere, which many services now provide. Tidal is not just another one of those providers,' said CEO Andy Chen. 'Rather than remaining in background to some other activity, music deserves to take center stage with quality at its heart.' The key question now is how Tidal will be marketed. With established rivals already battling for telco deals, entering the US and UK with a splash may require some clever partnerships on Tidal's part.


Tidal HiFi

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