Downloads: wooly thinking at

I recieved an email from “John” this morning asking whether there was a difference between the quality of WMA files and the original CDs; he’d bought a few digital downloads from Woolworth’s online shop and thought they sounded crap.

He contacted Woolies, and their reply is reprinted here:

>> Dear Sir/Madam,
>> Thank you for your e-mail. Yes, the quality should be the same as
>> purchasing the normal cd in the stores.
>> If you have any further enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact me.
>> Regards,
>> [deleted by Gary]
>> Customer Service Response Agent

Bollocks. It looks like isn’t giving its staff sufficient training on this: whether they’re in AAC, WMA or MP3, all legal music downloads use compression – which means that a lot of the data is chucked out to make the file sizes smaller. The difference depends on the level of compression and the file format, but there’s a dramatic difference between a 128Kbps WMA file and the original CD, even if you’re using cheap and cheerful hi-fi speakers.

John says:

I cannot see why they cannot send a proper wave file or at least say clearly on their sites that the customer is buying a poor second rate item… it wouldn’t bother me if the download took longer.

He has contacted Woolworths again; if he gets a reply, I’ll post it here.