Offer track downloads

Are we restricted to offering only 1 file format for downloads?

When I can, I download music in both FLAC for my not-calling-myself-an-audiofile HQ listening rig, and 320kbps mp3 for my phone. To me, the option to choose download format(s) is one of Bandcamp’s “killer features”.

When I buy digital music from stores that only allow 1 format, I buy either FLAC or WAV, then transcode it myself to 320kbps mp3.

…But my preferences probably don’t reflect those of Resonate’s core clientele. I am also An Old™ who prefers to listen to entire albums rather than a stream of singles.


There’s also some questions over on the Submitting music - #14 by Hakanto thread regarding restricting uploaded files to WAV or AIFF going forward (dropping FLAC).

And on the user story Downloading tracks 2.0

It’d be good to understand, a little, the technical processes behind the scenes here and why it would be necessary to convert FLAC to AIFF or WAV, why not uploading FLAC would be of benefit, and how it relates to downloads.

I’ve looked through some of the technical documentation in the past (Resonate Tech - Why, What, How and Where v1 - Google Präsentationen) but can’t see how storage and transcoding works.

So we store files on Backblaze for the track streamer. Possibly in AAC? Do we also store the original uploads (FLAC, WAV, AIFF)? Would an MP3 download be transcoded on the fly, from original upload formats? Or would we be proposing also storing MP3s for downloads?

I totally get that just adding one download format is version 2.0, and offering additional download formats is in a future version. I’m just unclear on the relationship between reducing upload formats and offering a download format.


We’ll keep accepting FLAC until there is more consensus around this. :+1:t4: I don’t understand the details myself, so I’m grateful to keep chatting about this and learning.


That’s cool with me but personally I don’t want work on downloads to stall if it’s a factor.

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Sorry to chip in, and as I say I’m new to all this :slight_smile: But as a regular Bandcamp user (listener/buyer, not artist) I would add that despite downloading all the music I buy, I still use Bandcamp to listen to it most of the time… probably 80-90% of the time. But downloading does allow me to listen at times when I don’t have internet. So, I do think if people download from Resonate they will still use the site to listen (and continue to explore) if they like the way the site functions…


My 2 penneth/[euro]cents :

I absolutely care about people downloading tracks. The whole “rent everything” is a social scourge that feeds a system that only benefits the rich. Bandcamp is cashing out, and resonate can be the place to send people to, but not whilst it doesn’t have downloads.

I have a whole-home audio system that isn’t spotify, isn’t sonos, has no need to login to anything, keeps my personal data in my control and doesn’t leak data or even metadata about me. You might think of this as extreme but I am privacy conscious and who knows when people start getting arrested in countries where it’s illegal to be gay for streaming Tom Robinson’s Glad to be Gay on Spotify?

I’m also an artist. I want to provide my songs to people who want to own them and play them offline. Right now, that place would be bandcamp. Going forward it certainly won’t be because I care about how companies treat their staff, and epic is known for treating their developers poorly.

I am opinionated and I would actually suggest that artists can make the choice but it should be clearly shown what their choice is. An overlay on their work that has a [Downloadable] or [Not Downloadable] badge for instance. That way the listener can truly make their choice, and it’s not on to choose, it’s a decision by both listener and artist. It might make the messaging about “stream to own” a little more complex, but you can state on the download page “Sorry, this artist has chosen to disallow downloading” then.

IMO “Own” is not “stream for free, when you have internet, when the servers are up, and as long as we don’t go bust”. That is just deception in my book. And deception from a coop that claims fairness is baked in is not a good look. This is why I think that it’s important to say who made the choice to disallow downloading, and this should really be visible before you spend money (credits) on listening.

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On the flac vs anything else thing, I would actually say that providing flac only as a download is perfectly valid, yes, some players don’t have the option to play it, but if people care about downloads they should be able to convert the media, the download could even link to a page where there are tools to convert the file anyway. FLAC being lossless is equivalent to wav/aiff anyway and takes up less storage on backblaze.

I agree that it must be more obvious that downloading doesn’t exist.

I do want to point out a subtle difference here, there’s a difference between not allowing downloading and downloading not being implemented.

Generally across the forum, I haven’t seen one current or ex-board member be anti-downloading. This is a very small company with currently very little revenue, and it seems like other things, like having a more functional player, better payment flow, et cetera have taken priority.

It’s not a venture-backed company that can just tell its team of developers to put it in the next sprint.

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How would you feel about MP3 320kbps? Granted it’s supposedly “lossy” but not to the extent 99,9% of the population could hear any difference and if they do, they never hear a difference to the point it’s actually a problem of any kind. The uptick is it’s a widely accepted very good quality format that everything reads correctly.

I understand the frustration of it not being “lossless” compared to flac, but to me it’s really more symbolic than meaningful in terms of sonic quality and we should go with the broader more easy to use format.


@LLK seems like a bit of the paralysis on downloading is that there’s a sentiment of “if it’s not in my 5 favorite formats, it’s worthless”. Maybe focusing on “download mp3” as a first step would be more effective way of thinking?


Yeah I have the same feeling and I must admit being a little frustrated about it, I understand wav/aif is a lot of space and we need to narrow it down, but really MP3 320kbps seems like such a great format to me that I think we could be completely fine going offering that for the time being an when we have a “choose your export format” feature like Bandcamp… that’ll probably means we’ve sorted some of our most complicated financial needs so that’ll be great news.

It’s an issue we have with “Stream 2 Own” being the business model of the platform we aim to create (and it implied download from day one if I remember correctly) and clearly advertising everywhere we’re in beta, we’re not a fully operational company, we want coders, builders, help getting funds without going the VC route, etc.

Basically all the things that make us a coop and “fair” (as a workers owned company that doesn’t have to pay back millions and/or scale to the moon in an exponential curve) are the things that make it harder for us to create the infrastructure for a business model that is also “fair”. Doesn’t mean it’s not the goal of all the people working here, most of them benevolently, but it does mean people have to manage their expectations when coming here, we need their help and implication to create the platform we all want, and right now the platform we have isn’t that yet and we know it.


Sure, I do get that, honestly I think the idea behind is fantastic and the reason I’m engaging is I want it to succeed, however this is functionality that did exist and was taken away, and that is what makes it feel like deception especially when it’s framed in “we just haven’t technically decided how to do it”.

As for the flac vs mp3 debate, it’s not just the word lossless, it’s about the fact that mp3 is designed to “sound like” the original. That is very subjective and varies based on type of music. if it weren’t the case, it would be a lossless format. An mp3 of a podcast could get away with being ~56kbps, a classical sonata where you want to hear every resonance of every string, not so much. And because it’s subjective, you do get arguments. Flac saves space on wav/aif, is lossless, therefore objectively the same as the original wav/aiff and is actually an old and stable format (more than 20 years old). Every OS has players for it, and converters to mp3 if that’s all the player you want it on is capable of (hint: if it’s a good player, it’ll almost certainly support flac :wink: ). That makes it a perfect balance point for downloading tracks. It’s also VERY marketable, which is a good thing.

Since there seems to be no disagreement on the goal of offering downloads (and possibly never has been in our history) let’s consider this proposal #supported!

Let’s shift course. We went big but now we need to narrow our focus.

The next step is to prepare a #plan for the download feature. The simpler the better: one file type, no frills.

We can expand features and formats in iterations after we get the basic feature working – eventually pursuing parity with Bandcamp. However, most here agree, the initial goal is to offer downloads.

If you’d like to offer advice on what this minimal download feature should look like and what the initial file type should be, join the conversation below in Platform.


A post was merged into an existing topic: Downloading tracks 2.0