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I'm looking at purchasing a All Power to the People AP2P's latest album on Beatport. Beatport however charges a ridiculous price of $9.75 (on top of the $9.99 for the album) if you wish to download it in a .wav file format.

That's an obscene price. It's laughably absurd. My question is when the artist uploads to Beatport are they always uploading the wav format when this option is available to download as a wav? Or, is beat port simply decoding an mp3 to get the raw wav? Per the terms of agreement, B(2)(C) as of August 21, 2013,

C. be uploaded to the Beatport server per our instructions as an MP3, WAV or AIFF audio file format. Files must not include any viruses, corrupted files or other harmful software elements, and will not be returned.

Is Beatport taking an MP3, converting it to the wav form and selling it to their users for $9.75 premium?

There are few things that warrant the death penalty online, but converting a lossy format to a lossless one would certainly be one of those things in the Great Kingdom of Evanland Place.

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2 Answers

A reddit user, rising_son commented

Let's do a test and find out! Got myself a so called "wav" AND an MP3 version of the same track from Beatport (song "feel good" by Maduk). Will re-convert the MP3 version into another wav (for the purpose of importing into ProTools, reconverting it will preserve the lossy nature of the file), and invert it and play along side the wav version at the same volume. If the wav is a reconverted MP3 file, there will be no sound as both files will be identical and both will perfectly cancel each other out. If they are different, there will be audible sound representing the data which was lost in the compression from wav to MP3 by Beatport.

Just did the test and they both perfectly cancel out when one track is inverted, leading me to the conclusion that Beatport IS in fact "upconverting" mp3 audio files to Wav files for the purpose of well... ripping people off!

That's an ingenious way to answer this problem. That pretty much confirms it, Beatport is simply decoding the mp3 and selling it for a $9.99 premium.

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A few points meandering towards an answer:

  • Well a regular album is going to be, what? 150MB@320kbps CBR MP3 sound right? The WAV version is going to be 700MB. Storing that costs money. Sending that costs (admittedly a small amount of) money.

  • Let's also point out that high quality MP3 is practically lossless.

  • Transcoding from a 320kbps MP3 to PCM WAV would not lose any further quality.

  • Also note that WAV is convenient for people who want to mix things. You can hard-cut a WAV and stitch and merge it with other WAVs without the need for transcoding (or threat of quality loss).

A think a combination of convenience and small real-world costs is what you're paying for here. You're not paying for higher quality or they'd just use FLAC.

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You're all around not making too much sense, anyone mixing a wav file can turn an mp3 into a wav file. All you must do is decode the mp3. There is a sizable difference between a wav file and an mp3 if you decode and re-encode as mp3. The cost of transferring 1 GB isn't even 1¢ using Amazon AWS which is overpriced as is; Dreamhost wouldn't even charge for transfer. And, whether or not the distribute as FLAC has little to do with anything: it's the same quality, they'd just save on their own storage costs. –  Evan Carroll Aug 22 '13 at 14:53
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