If you were worried that your kids and their kids will never get to enjoy the music video for the late Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" in high quality, you can now stop thinking about that and concentrate on more important matters. Google announced yesterday on the YouTube blog
that it is teaming up with Universal Music Group to remaster and upgrade some of the most iconic music videos of all time. This includes the 30-year-old Tom Petty video.
According to Google, 100 videos have already been remastered and now offer the highest quality audio and video. Artists in this group include Billy Idol, Beastie Boys, Boyz II Men, George Strait, Janet Jackson, Kiss, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, Lionel Richie, Maroon 5, Meat Loaf, No Doubt/Gwen Stefani, Smokey Robinson, The Killers, and the aforementioned Tom Petty. Every week over the next year, more videos will be worked on until a total of 1,000 music videos are "painstakingly" remastered to the highest possible standards. The work will be complete by sometime next year.
You'll know which videos have been upgraded because they will have a "Remastered" label in the description and will shift from SD (standard definition) to HD. Besides "Free Fallin'" some of the other videos that have already been upgraded include the music videos for the Beastie Boys’ "Sabotage" and Lady Gaga’s "Bad Romance." Believe it or not, it has been 25 years and 10 years respectively since those two videos were first released.
Remastered label in the description for a Tom Petty video on YouTube
"It’s really an honor to partner with Universal Music Group and change the way fans around the globe will experience viewing some of the most classic and iconic videos. The quality is truly stunning. It's our goal to ensure that today's music videos — true works of art — meet the high-quality standards that artists' works deserve and today's music fans expect. For years, some of the greatest music videos in YouTube’s catalog have been available only in the outdated standards originally intended for tube televisions with mono speakers. With this new initiative, we’re upgrading videos, vastly improving the viewing experience, whether on mobile, desktop or living room screens. The new videos will seamlessly replace the original versions on both YouTube and within YouTube Music, while retaining the same url, view-counts and 'likes.'-Stephen Bryan, Global Head of Label Relations, YouTube
Google compares these music videos to "priceless paintings or sculptures in museums" noting that even museum quality art needs some TLC every now and then.