This isn't going to be #1 (or even #100,000) on Billboard or iTunes, guys. Ultimately, over the life of the album, sales of this type of thing are usually very limited. Chesky hires engineers, equipment, rents musical instruments that may be needed (which they rented quite a lot of for Explorations), hires the musicians, consults with experts in 3D audio, rents out the venues (and the recording sessions typically span days), and incurs the day-to-day costs associated with being a business. And then, if all goes well, there's hopefully some profit at some point--no venture can continue without it; no more albums of this type can be made without at least some reasonable hope of it.
Albums like this are obviously part of a very niche, very specialty market right now, and will likely be so for a long time to come (and may remain so forever). This is high-resolution, binaurally recorded music, and most of the folks who care to buy an album like this one are people like us, and we're not exactly the broader market. And, to the best of my knowledge, nobody is putting more effort and passion into it than Chesky.
Well, to be honest while I think binaural stuff is really cool, it doesn't strike me as the way all music should be recorded or something like that. I'm not against it and I think I could find a lot of enjoyment in it. I don't think he's like trying to make millions. I realize the sales are limited. The sales are also limited with many, MANY bands that I listen to, and they still charge no more than 20$ for vinyl, and you get whatever format you desire (some including 24bit) as many times as you want once you've bought the album.
I understand it's quite the investment, and I realize it's niche but then why is the 16/44 only 12$? It's a little weird that's all. Make it all a flat high price if it was really that expensive. Making the higher bitrates cost so much just seems to be kind of a downer for the audio community. Anyway when you are charging 25 for pure digital that's when you're getting into gimmick territory if you ask me.