Ever since Ad Noiseam started to sell digital versions of the label's releases directly from this website, one question kept on being asked again and again: when would we start offering lossless versions, as opposed to mp3 (which is a lossy format, meaning that the sound quality is lesser than what you hear on record and CD). The answer was always that we couldn't do so because it would require some heavy re-programming of the online store, as well as humongous amount of server space, which doesn't come cheap.
But as demands for lossless versions of the digital releases grew, we decided to jump the gun: starting today, you will be able to purchase digital releases in FLAC formats. These files will be available alongside the physical ones and mp3 right from the Ad Noiseam online store. People who have already bought an item as mp3 will also be able to upgrade to FLAC by paying only the price difference between both formats.
We go more in the details below, but one thing before going any further: this FLAC format is restricted to only a very limited amount of releases at the moment, as we still do not have enough server space to host the whole catalog as lossless files. It might come in the future, but a whole server move will take some time and be costly. If there's enough interest in FLAC files, though, it will come sooner rather than later.
And now for a few more details:
The FLAC files are available on the same ordering page as the mp3, meaning the one which lists the item format as "digital" (rather than "CD" or "vinyl"). You are then presented with a drop down menu showing you the available file formats (320kbs mp3 only so far for most of the releases, and FLAC for a few).
You can then select the format you prefer, and order it as normal (note that FLAC downloads are a couple of Euros more expensive than mp3 ones). Your files are available for download on the "Your Account" page, once you have paid for your order (via Paypal, bank transfer or whichever method you have chosen).
This all applies to the first time you purchase an album. However, we don't think that it would be fair for people who have already bought the mp3 release to pay full price for the FLAC one. Therefore, once you have logged in, the site will detect whether or not you already have the mp3 version. If you do, the drop down menu shows you an extra option, listed as an "upgrade from mp3 to FLAC":
Selecting it allows you to get the full FLAC format and pay only for the price difference between both. In the end, you therefore pay only the price of the FLAC file, and nothing more.
Finally, for the people who have read all this but have no idea what this FLAC thing is: unlike mp3, which compress audio data by removing part of the information (therefore ending with a lesser quality), FLAC is a "lossless" file format, which compress the audio without decreasing its quality (as a zip archive of a text file, for example). It therefore enable people to save on disk space while keeping the same audio quality as a CD. Most mainstream mp3 players and audio software will not play FLAC files out of the box, but it is extremely easy to convert them to WAV, which will in turn be played by all applications and hardware. A list of programs performing this conversion can be found here and there.
Here it is, folk. You've asked for it, and we're bringing this change to the store. Enjoy, please don't complain too much about the limited amount of releases available as FLAC (we know this not enough yet), but let us know in the comments below what you think of this all.
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