Solving The Online Music Format Mess… With Another Format?

from the say-what? dept

Now that every other company is starting a music download store (even if no one is making any money off of it), people are beginning to realize that maybe it makes sense to come up with a single format that works for anyone. Of course, some might say that we’ve already got formats that work, but the folks over in the recording industry seem to have a mental block when it comes to the formats that everyone likes to use. So, now, Microsoft, Universal Music and others, under the title of the Content Reference Forum, are teaming up to create a new music format – but one that makes it easier for them to make you buy the music. There aren’t all that many details, but it appears to be going back to some of the very original concepts behind a hypertext system: that content only needs to be available once, and any time you want to access it, you just link to it. In other words, instead of offering downloadable music, the plan is to offer links to music that is served up remotely. Of course, one of the “features” of such a system is that the content providers can know (and, potentially, charge you) every time you want to hear that certain song. It’s an interesting idea, but it seems to make the music less valuable. Suddenly, it can only be listened to from an internet connected machine, you don’t actually own anything, and the big content providers get to keep a big database of exactly what songs you listen to when. Doesn’t sound all that appealing to me. The one thing that it does have going for it, is that it allows people to “share” – if, by share, you mean point someone to a link and let them pay for it themselves.

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