Still an elusive format, but many artists still hold out hope that there will be a mass-market, superior alternative to the basic compact disc that is, umm, actually viable. Yes, this rules out SACD. But then, the problem is always going to be the same as what it always has been – convinving the public that this (usually more expensive) CD is better than the CD they have now become accustomed to buying for $10. Neil Young, for one, is a sound freak, and it was he who was all over the DVD-Audio format for its fifteen minutes in the spotlight, at one point holding up his eternally-delayed-though still-hoped-for (at least by me) archival series of unreleased music that has been stashed away for, well, ever. Ready or not, here comes Code. Oh, I stole this from the Wired blog (yeah…we like that blog).
A legendary producer whose diverse resume includes bands as different as Roy Orbison and Autolux, T Bone Burnett has tweaked knobs and scored films (Cold Mountain, O Brother, Where Art Thou?) with the best of them. But with the impending collapse of the biz-as-usual music industry, he is hard at work planning its digital future in the form of Code, a high-fidelity audio technology that’s as pristine as the sound of studio masters.
“Record companies have alienated customers and the artists,” Burnett told the Los Angeles Times. “This is completely an artist-driven initiative. Our aim is to democratize high-fidelity.”
The producer-artist, known as Joseph Henry Burnett to the IRS, has already employed Code on John Mellencamp’s July release Life Death Love and Freedom, and plans for Bob Dylan and Neil Young are on the burner. But it may not be long until Code is standard operating procedure for artists and professionals looking to upgrade the quality of their sound.
For one, Code discs can be played on any DVD drive, including the one in your computer. Secondly, it doesn’t cost anything more to record to Code than HDCD or any other hi-res audio format.
Which is the kind of scenario Neil Young was demanding back in July, during an interview with CNN Money. “In the 21st century,” Young said, “with these beautiful computers and incredible capabilities, hi-res music is one of the missing elements. [But] I think that’s the future of music.”