MP3 turns into MusicDNA... but will it be the new 8-track?
People in the music industry are obsessed about developing new formats. From shellac and vinyl we went to 8-track... then to cassette and CD... with DAT tapes and MiniDiscs somewhere in the mix.
Then came the thing that ballsed everything up for The Recording Industry Of The Entire World - the Mp3. These formless, intangible things started getting tossed down phonelines to anyone who wanted to hear... and someone, somewhere probably realised that everything was about to go tits up.
However, that hasn't stopped tinkerers tinkering as there's a new format to get your ear-trumpet round... and this new music file format has been unveiled by some of the key figures behind the development of the MP3.
It's called MusicDNA and instead of being a simple, static piece of data, it will be able to include things like lyrics, videos, artwork and blog posts and it will have the ability to be continually updated... that includes music updates.
It has been created by one of the chaps who worked on the first MP3 player and he's a Norwegian developer called Dagfinn Bach.
British record company Beggars Group (formerly Beggars Banquet) and Tommy Boy (De La Soul, Afrika Bambaataa) has signed up to use MusicDNA. Of course, the majors are hanging fire before they sign up... presumably waiting to see how profitable and viable this new format is.
Speaking at the Midem music conference, Mr Bach said: "We can deliver a file that is extremely searchable and can carry up to 32GB of extra information in the file itself.
"And it will be dynamically updatable so that every time the user is connected, his file will be updated."
MusicDNA is launching a beta version this spring and should be firing on all cylinders come summertime.
Mr Brandenburg, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology in Germany, said: "I think it brings together a number of ideas that have been around for a long time.
"I remember 10 years ago, a lot of people were saying that we need to enrich the user experience, that legal access to music has to give the customers more than just music, and this is certainly one very nice way to do it."
This could certainly be a good format to play around with... but ultimately, could fail if the files end up being too big and thereby, clog up the space in smaller MP3 players. It could also be seen as a way of getting people to buy legally (which of course, holds its own problems) as illegally shared material may miss a vital strand of code and thereby, not allow you to get constant updates.
What do you think, dearest reader?