[ProAudio] Lossless audio on YouTube

Chris Caudle 6807.chris at pop.powweb.com
Fri Apr 23 16:01:00 PDT 2021

On 2021-04-22 22:14, cheater cheater via ProAudio wrote:
> The trend of only ever releasing lossy audio to the general
> public

I think it would be more accurate to say only releasing lossy audio 
along with video on free streaming sites.
For most music specific releases you can usually still buy the CD, or 
download high quality files.
For video you can get BluRay which has lossless audio.

> 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.

I think you are exaggerating how bad the audio quality is.  I checked a 
video from a music analysis/commentary/education channel I'm familiar 
with, and these are the audio formats available (you should usually get 
the best quality your connection rate can support):
opus @ 53k (48000Hz), 8.05MiB
opus @ 70k (48000Hz), 10.59MiB
mp4a.40.2 at 129k (44100Hz), 19.38MiB
opus @137k (48000Hz), 20.65MiB

I checked a couple of music only videos (the previous had a lot of 
dialog, I'm not sure if the bit rate is varied based on whether the 
video has primarily dialog or music) and those seem common:
opus @ 45k (48000Hz), 1.60MiB
opus @ 59k (48000Hz), 2.12MiB
opus @120k (48000Hz), 4.24MiB
mp4a.40.2 at 129k (44100Hz), 4.58MiB

opus @ 50k (48000Hz), 2.06MiB
opus @ 65k (48000Hz), 2.70MiB
opus @127k (48000Hz), 5.23MiB
mp4a.40.2 at 129k (44100Hz), 5.31MiB

127kb/s obviously isn't 256kb/s, but it's better than radio or analog TV 

> Are there any plans known? Any lossless web codecs being planned or
> released by Google or Mozilla?

I think if there was a big demand for higher quality audio the first and 
easiest thing would be to just use 256kb/s opus and AAC.  That would not 
require any changes to the existing software, and results in 
imperceptible differences to the original for almost all listeners.

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

I don't think you have defined "the issue" well enough to begin with.  
If your argument is that the compressed audio sounds different than the 
original source material, I think you would need to be able to make some 
kind of argument that the differences are objectionable, and 
objectionable enough that it is driving away viewers.
YouTube isn't making all those videos available because they are 
charitable to you, they do it to sell advertising, so anything that 
drives up the cost would need to be justified in some way by driving 
more revenue.  You can be sure that if YouTube thought increase the 
audio bit rate from 129kb/s to 160kb/s or 256kb/s would bring  in more 
views they would do it.

On 2021-04-23 16:08, Dan Lavry via ProAudio wrote:
> YouTube channel accommodates 44.1K 16 bits.

All of the files have lossy compression I believe, so I'm not sure what 
"16 bits" means in that context, you can't really make an apples to 
apples comparison  between uncompressed PCM bit depth and lossy 
compressed files.

> Download speed is still an issue, especially for slow internet.

It is not just download speed, it is cost of transit for that much data. 
  I have seen various numbers from 1 billion to 5+ billion videos 
streamed per day from YouTube.
That could be on the order of 10 million GB per day of data they have to 
move.  I have not looked into wholesale Internet data transit rates in a 
long time, but that has to be a lot of money no matter how much of a 
bulk discount you get.

Chris Caudle

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