Tag Archives: science and music

Science, Bitch: Your MP3 Collection Contains Only 9% Of The Original Music Data

A recent article posted by Mic.com has revealed something irrefutable (backed with science data) that might change the way you choose to listen to music, especially if you use Spotify. To put it simply, when original music data (the “master”) is compressed to the digital MP3 format it loses 91% of its original data, which gets replaced with algorithms. That’s right 91 PERCENT! What does this mean, exactly? Well…it means a few things. First off, you are guaranteed to have minimal emotional response to the music because listening to music in MP3 format can “fatigue” the ears. Secondly, you are not hearing the music the way the artist intended you to hear it. Hearing the music in a higher fidelity can potentially evoke emotional responses never present when listening to it in the compressed MP3 form. Consider a vinyl record to be the equivalent of 1080p HD and a CD is 720P HD….now consider an MP3 to be only 9% of that 1080p HD. Just let that sink in for a bit.

Now, read this excerpt from the article:

Bob Ludwig, a record mastering engineer, believes this [music in MP3 form] is one of the chief reasons people don’t engage with albums as deeply anymore. “When you’re through listening to a whole album of this highly compressed music, your ear is fatigued,” he told NPR. “You may have enjoyed the music but you don’t really feel like going back and listening to it again.”

Research shows that musical quality has a huge effect on emotional response. A recent study performed by audio researchers at DTS divided a group of listeners into two groups — one that watched a video accompanied by standard stereo 96-kbps sound (Spotify’s default audio setting) and the other group listened in 256-kbps audio format. The responses in the brains of the group listening with the 256-kbps audio were 14% more powerful on metrics measuring memory creation and 66% higher on pleasure responses. And this was just 96 to 256 kbps.

Vinyl records are estimated to play at a whopping 1000 kbps. Music might not just have lost its revenue when it switched to digital; it may have lost its emotional power too.

Granted, we here at Kosher Metal have to use MP3 files to broadcast our radio station….but in no way should our radio station be the only way you listen to music. Sure, it’s a 128kbps which is higher than Spotify’s default setting but we want you to seek out the music from the bands you like hearing in physical form…whether it’s CD or vinyl.

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(click image to enlarge, definitely worth a look. Image source Mic.com)

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