Nature of the Mp3

When creating (or recording) music, often times there are moments when the frequencies of the different instruments cancel each other out and the listener does not hear both instruments. During conversion into an mp3 file, this overlap can then be removed, because, after all, you don’t need to include something you can’t hear anyway. This allows for mp3’s to be much smaller than the original file, and easier for transportation and storage. There is something about this process that bugs me. It seems like technology is trying to deceive you. Producers are selling you something that is only half of what you thought you were buying. It’s like going to a concert where the lead singer lip syncs, only it’s so natural that you don’t even realize it. While taking these overlapping parts away does make it easier and cheaper, and it really shouldn’t matter anyway since I can’t hear it, it just seems that people are lying about it. But I guess a distinguishing factor of today’s music (versus the music produced and sold fifty years ago) is that in order to have it fast, cheap, and now, shortcuts and robotic tuning must take place. It still bothers me that Katy Perry singing from my iTunes download sounds so different than the Katy Perry singing at a concert. I also know it doesn’t logically make sense to not like the mp3 process, but the feeling of somewhat being jipped remains.


I want to download this whole experience. But then, would it even be authentic anymore?

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