Streaming Ambisonics is what will champion Ambisonics.
Its not CDs, not DVD’s, not torrents, not freely downloadable albums, not UHJ encoded CDs, not many things.
Why? … because for every minute that passes between someone first being exposed to Ambisonics, and actually hearing it, their interest fades. That’s a perfectly normal human behaviour. It’s “attention span” economics… and on the Internet, the competition is huge … but so are the opportunities.
It is possible for a newcomer to ‘hear’ Ambisonics within 5 seconds of landing on a web page.
This fact is one of the core reasons for the success of YouTube. Do you remember your first YouTube experience? … I bet your overriding impression would have been “oh wow, it just works, there’s the video”
Lets say 1000 newcomers land on Ambisonia.com.
- Only 150 will have a bittorrent client installed.
- Out of those 150, maybe 50 will bother downloading the large files
- Out of those 50, maybe 10 will bother to hunt down Ambisonic software and try to play the file.
- Out of those 10, maybe 1 person will succeed in actually playing the Ambisonics file.
That’s a delivery rate of 0.1%. The time gap between first being exposed to Ambisonics and hearing it is going to be several days.
Now go here: http://www.ambisonia.com/tests/streamingAAC …and click play. What you hear, INSTANTLY, is Ambisonics (its a 4 speaker decode).
Now lets say that only 90% of people have Quicktime installed…. and lets say that out of those 90%, only 10% have a surround sound card connected to a 5.1 system.
That’s a delivery rate of 9% … which is almost 2 orders of magnitude greater than the previous scenario.
But wait! … if you didn’t have a surround sound card installed, you can still hear the 4 channels folded down into 2 channels. Ok, so that’s not surround, but now you can hear what is in the file, and that will stick in your head, and you will get excited at how good this will sound in surround. You might email the URL of that web page to someone you know has a suround sound system… or you might just come back and listen to stuff in stereo.
In the first scenario, out of 1000 new visitors, 1 person might get to hear something (2 days after landing on the site).
With streaming surround, out of 1000 new visitors, 900 people will have a listen and have their interest picked (within 30 seconds of landing on the site)… out of those, a certain proportion will go on to try and find a 5.1 system to listen in proper surround. And maybe 40 will hear surround sound immediately.
That’s a HUUUGE difference. All thanks to streaming.
Lastly, are compressed codecs important? Well, the principle reason why I have not automatically translated all Ambisonic files on Ambisonia and offered them as streaming downloads is because I am concerned about how much it is going to cost me. Sure bandwidth is cheap … but Ambisonia has distributed around 2.4 terrabytes since its inception… and it has earned maybe $300 (in 2.5 years).