Emusic/labels reducing bit rates?

edited June 2008 in General
I've noticed that some of my recent downloads from emu have been as low as 128Kbit(VBR). I've looked at some of the older emu files I have and they all seem to be 192 or above, many are 320. Maybe I need to do a more in depth analysis on this, having only looked at about 20 older files at random and relying on my memory, possibly looking at different labels and see if I can see any trends there too. I'm sure that when I joined emu, late 2005, somewhere in the blurb it was mentioned that bit rates tended to be 192 or above. I'm not saying that all newer downloads are of lower quality, but that it seems that a higher number of files are lower bit rates than used to be the case.
Is this all just my imagination or is it how it seems to me? Are we really getting less bits for our bucks?


  • The only one of my recent downloads that shows as consistently lower bitrates (but still VBR) is the new Half Man Half Biscuit album. Everything else seems to be in the 180 - 220 area, which is more or less what I'd expect.

    Could be a couple of aggregators being sneaky I suppose.
    Certainly hope it's not the start of a 'lower price - lower quality' trend though.
  • I've seen the odd album over the years that's coded with the wrong encoder, or the wrong settings. I think it's more of a lack of quality control and miss-communications than anything malicious. The vast vast vast majority of my eMusic stuff is VBR / V2.

    Over the last few months I've downloaded the following that are not:
    Connie Price and the Keystones - Tell Me Something (VBR /V0)
    Indian Jewelry - Free Gold (VBR / V0)
    Dungen - Dungen (192 CBR)
    David Lang - The Passing Measures (VBR / V4)
    Guru Guru - UFO (MP3 ABR)
    Parson Sound - Parson Sound (MP3 ABR)
    Speedometer - Four Flights Up (VBR /V2 but appears to be encoded at a lower rated)

    There's other examples in the Free Downloads but they are all V0 or V4.

    I also have a few others in the collection:
    Rovo - Indigo (192 CBR)
    Schmoov! - Destination (192 CBR) (Note: not tool tag saying it as a Lame created file)
    Ministry - RIO Grande Blood (192 CBR) (Note: the tag type is APE, and older versions of Foobar would show it as being generated by iTunes)
  • Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth (and Universal-Vivendi owned eMu) all the content was 192 CBR. If my fuzzy dog memory is correct, they transitioned sometime during the Reign Of Genmod. Seems like, for a while, they had a little flag they'd put on the album pages of older files warning that they were at the lower bitrate (and, of course, including some bullshit about how they'd be upgrading the album soon -- yeah, right).

    Or maybe I'm just making this all up. Anybody remember? stationwagon? quacky? anybody?

  • Back in the day everything was 128K CBR. It seems insane but that was once an acceptable standard.
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