Why Do Bands Still Use Real Audio?

How many times have you checked out a band’s website only to find their music samples are in the Real Audio format (.ra or .rm)? Here’s a few good reasons why your band sucks for using Real Audio:

  1. It only plays with Real Player
  2. Real Player is a CPU hogging piece of spyware
  3. It sounds awful at the low bit rates where its used most often
  4. The file format is closed
  5. While Real Player claims to have a higher number of installations in home users, most people who frequently listen to music online have MP3 players as well (this is my observation, and not backed up by statistics).

Your goal in putting out digital music should be to get people interested in what you’re playing. Forcing potential fans to go through the hassle of installing and using a bloated, ad-ridden, program like Real Player is completely unnecessary when there are great alternatives like MP3, WMA, and Ogg Vorbis. The one place Real Audio has a use is in low bit rate streaming, but so much sound quality is lost it probably isn’t worth making it available to the public.

Some good file format comparisons:
Results of 64 kbit/s Group Listening Test
OGG vs. MP3 vs. WMA vs. RA
Working With High Quality Musical Works

How many times have you checked out a band’s website only to find their music samples are in the Real Audio format (.ra or .rm)? Here’s a few good reasons why your band sucks for using Real Audio:

  1. It only plays with Real Player
  2. Real Player is a CPU hogging piece of spyware
  3. It sounds awful at the low bit rates where its used most often
  4. The file format is closed
  5. While Real Player claims to have a higher number of installations in home users, most people who frequently listen to music online have MP3 players as well (this is my observation, and not backed up by statistics).

Your goal in putting out digital music should be to get people interested in what you’re playing. Forcing potential fans to go through the hassle of installing and using a bloated, ad-ridden, program like Real Player is completely unnecessary when there are great alternatives like MP3, WMA, and Ogg Vorbis. The one place Real Audio has a use is in low bit rate streaming, but so much sound quality is lost it probably isn’t worth making it available to the public.

Some good file format comparisons:
Results of 64 kbit/s Group Listening Test
OGG vs. MP3 vs. WMA vs. RA
Working With High Quality Musical Works

2 thoughts on “Why Do Bands Still Use Real Audio?”

  1. Real is the most annoying format in the world. Fortunately, there is a now a way to play real audio without installing real. Called Real Alternative, it’s a free plugin for the Windows platform. Don’t have the url, but you can find it by googling.

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