January 22, 2004

FLAC support in iTunes?

iTunes plays its music via Quicktime. Quicktime is highly extensible and is very extensible via its plugin architecture. Now a group of programmers are looking to take the free software audio codec project FLAC and make a free quicktime plugin supporting the lossless codec.

On the one hand, this sort of project is great. FLAC is being supported by some fairly popular bands like Phish who use it for their live concert downloads.

On the other hand, without the ability to add FLAC to the iPod, people are going to be able to buy FLAC songs, play them on their Macintosh and Windows machines, but not their portable music players.

Apple's caught in a bit of a conundrum. They can either open up their iPOD OS to allow independent programmers to add support for codecs like FLAC, they can try to close down Quicktime, or they can follow initiatives like this and code the closed bits so that they are ready when their free programmer collaborators release their code. But sticking with the current situation is the least attractive as it's going to lead to a growth in unhappy customers.

Posted by TMLutas at January 22, 2004 11:04 PM