Albums in the stream: why RealAudio won’t replace the record store
Written July 12, 1996
Published by Websight Magazine in October, 1996
Several weeks ago, Reprise Records announced that, by using Real Audio, they would World Premiere the new Neil Young album, Broken Arrow, exclusively over the Web. This was to happen at midnight on the Sunday before it hit the record stores.
Since I’m currently in no-life mode, I figured what the hell: why not bask in Neil’s fine new record before I could actually purchase it for my very own? Besides, it was time to give Real Audio a shot again. After all, the last time I’d heard anything in Real Audio was back in the dark days early this year. This was before hotshots started plaguing all of us with the “target” attribute. In fact, it was just as Gif 89, Java & Shockwave started systematically stalking and killing server pushes one by one. A long time ago, at least by the way technology on the Net is measured. So at midnight, at mid-year, I was ready and raring: not just to hear Neil’s new record, but also to find out what the makers of Real Audio had done to increase the sound quality of one of the potential killer apps of the Web: real-time streaming audio.