Taylor Swift recently wrote an optimistic op-ed about the future of the music industry, but new documentary The Distortion of Sound presents a more muted analysis: specifically, it tackles the decline of sound quality that has been a natural result of the industry’s expansion and shift away from physical formats. It’s a short film—only around 20 minutes long—but there are some big names involved, including Snoop Dogg, Slash, Hans Zimmer, and Kate Nash.
The film lays on the digital-is-doom spiel a little thick—I would have liked some more nuanced discussion of the varying forms of compression, and of lossless formats like FLAC—but there’s still some some fresh insight regarding how we care more about the convenience of streaming and compressed formats than the audio quality itself. Enjoy.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.