[ProAudio] Lossless audio on YouTube

cheater cheater cheater00social at gmail.com
Thu Apr 22 20:14:10 PDT 2021

Hi, I was wondering if anyone has any information on whether lossless
audio is on the roadmap for YouTube? Is anything done about this? It's
by far the only video hosting site that really matters and it's what
people host their music on as well as music-related educational
materials. The trend of only ever releasing lossy audio to the general
public is a huge hit to music as a whole on many levels: popularizing
(everyone thinks music sounds worse than it does), preservation,
research and progress of understanding the art, education, ...

Facebook, Instagram, TikTok etc all exist - of course - but content
hosted there is transient, of personal nature, etc. If you want
educational content, talks, etc you go to YouTube.

If you want to look up how to put down vinyl flooring, you can, and
you do it on YouTube. But you can't look up the differences between
guitar string gauges. Music and music education are being left behind
in a world where everything else is allowed to flourish on the new
medium. Not even the special-purpose YouTube offshoot, YouTube Music,
has lossless audio support.

Of course, there are places to get some of the content hosted on
YouTube. in a lossless format. But for all intents and purposes they
don't exist for the vast majority of listeners. For educational
contents, they're usually stuck behind a paywall of some sort. It's
never a smooth transition, you have to click a link, likely use a
computer (which most YouTube viewers don't have), decompress files,
use Dropbox or Mediafire, etc. All that makes the alternative sources
simply inaccessible.

The trade off for having lossless audio instead of lossy audio is
nowadays insignificant in terms of data size or necessary hardware
capability, and the multiformat delivery system means that you can
always revert to lossy if you need to (slow internet, data caps, ...).

Are there any plans known? Any lossless web codecs being planned or
released by Google or Mozilla? FLAC is supported both by Chrome and
Firefox - has been for a longer while - but only in an MP4 container,
which isn't what eg YouTube uses for /all/ versions of its content.
There's usually an MP4 version to choose on a video, but not always.
Often they'll use WebM. I wonder if support for FLAC in a WebM
container would help the switch.

Is anyone trying to reach out to video hosting sites to make them
aware of the issue with lossy audio for music?

Are there other issues I am missing?


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