Letter: Music on the Internet

Sir: Wendy Grossman's comment and your news article (28 May) both miss a couple of technological points when discussing the availability of music via the Internet.

The music downloaded in MP3 format is not CD quality. MP3 is a compression algorithm, the use of which reduces the storage space required to 10 per cent of that required for CD-quality music, but which inevitably affects the quality of the music in doing so. Furthermore, once downloaded, the MP3 file is only playable on a computer. It cannot be played in the car, while jogging, or in any of the other situations in which most people listen to music.

In campaigning against the distribution of MP3s, the music industry is targetting a very small minority of people who are in fact their greatest market. These people are music fans, who probably already own substantial CD collections and, if they hear a song they like via the Internet, would then buy it on CD. The Internet is therefore exposing people to music they might not otherwise have heard; surely this is good news for the music business?


Ruislip, Middlesex