New Music Format File Can Be Updated Remotely

from the well,-there's-that dept

For quite a while now, we’ve been hearing how many in the recording industry don’t like selling pure music digital files, because they leave out the rest of what people like to get with an album: the booklet, images, lyrics, etc. Lately there have been a few different attempts (with a whole bunch more on the way) to add that sort of information to digital music files. Not so long ago Apple introduced its iTunes LP which hasn’t exactly taken the world by storm yet. Now there’s another competitor in the space, called MusicDNA, which includes all that additional content. It’s main differentiator, though, is that the content can be regularly updated — but only if you have the official copy, rather than an unauthorized one. I certainly understand the thinking here (it’s an attempt to create a “freemium” type situation which encourages people to buy the version with all that other (updating) content. But I do wonder if the updating will freak some users out — knowing that they want to buy something that isn’t going to change over time in any way. I like the basic idea that content could be added to (which certainly could be a reason to buy) so long as old content can’t be tinkered with/deleted (it’s not clear in either article here). Another article suggests that the updated content would be for things like concert listings or Twitter feeds, which actually makes sense. Though, seeing all that, I wonder if this file format actually competes with the new trend for musicians to put out iPhone apps that sound like they basically do the same thing as this new MusicDNA format does.

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Comments on “New Music Format File Can Be Updated Remotely”

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CharlieM (profile) says:

Re: My first thought...

While it sounds like it technically could be considered a form of DRM, I for one don’t have a problem with it (as the updates sound like they will be at their discresion) – As long as, like Mike mentioned, there would be no way to void or alter your legally purchased file.

If there is a way to void or alter an unauthorized copy, I don’t think it will, as a new file format, catch on.

This also sounds like a way of reintroducing lossless as mainstream file format – and I may be inticed to re-buy some of my music (as I made the mistake of disgarding my physical CD’s when I converted to digital (MP3’s 10 years or so ago)

Cynyr (profile) says:

Re: Re: My first thought...

While it sounds like it technically could be considered a form of DRM, I for one don’t have a problem with it (as the updates sound like they will be at their discresion) – As long as, like Mike mentioned, there would be no way to void or alter your legally purchased file

So what about in 6 years when the company hosting the auth server goes under? or they decide that they want to move to “MusicDNA2” and that all of the musicDNA files must be redownloaded in a 1 week window one at a time. Will i be able to load them on my phone/iPod/PMP/car/HTPC/etc? If it is just an MP3 file with some special info in the metadata section for their player to use/update, i’m in, but thats not what it sounds like it will be.

The Anti-Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: My first thought...

I had the same thought. Were we not all up in arms about Amazon taking away content that wasn’t properly licensed?

This is another one of those deals where I think that we already have a really great technology for this sort of thing, it’s called the internet, blogs, websites, etc. This looks like another idea desperately in search of some practical use.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: My first thought...

Bugger that, it’s based on mp3. The sooner mp3 is either unencumbered by patents or dead, the better.

Honestly, this format is a total waste of time. Artists would be better off coming up with some sort of XML based standard for doing the same thing that would be independent of the audio files. The absolute only reason for this sort of nonsense would be for a format lock-in. It’s sad enough that mainstream stores haven’t already moved to support formats like Vorbis or FLAC without adding another pointless hurdle.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: My first thought...

DH you are thinking to small ….

1) hackablity and 0 day exploits any flaws in coding that allow over writing memory can be used to do the spyware malware thing.
2) The fact that they would know who has a illegitamate copy and their IP address more than likely. Think 30,000 RIAA lawsuits then increase that by 100 fold. With messages playing through this new file format. Stating we know you have an illegal copy, pay up!! or get sued or arrested.
3) SOC comes to mind where they can shut down what you have if you burned it from a CD you legally bought because it is not the official digital version.
4) The ability to delete files (Kindle).
5) Being able to figure out who has what music for targeted advertising.

Any thing that allows automatic updating is prone to abuse. Remember these are the people that dont care what sort of public relations nightmare they cause. For them its about the bottom line and nothing else. They are responsible for the digital economy bill, ACTA, suing 30,000 people, destroying every innovative music startup, having no respect for their artists or the people purchasing their music, and continue to shoot themselves in their collective feet every chance they get. Self defeating doesnt even begin to describe them.

In the end the market will decide which file format wins out. I dont think it will be DigitalDNA that wins this one but an open source format based on XML.

Anonymous Coward says:


This is just bullshit “features” stuffed in there for the sake of stuffing stuff in there so they can say they did. And there’s still DRM. And when it doesn’t take off, they’ll run screaming to legislators with this evidence that people are just thieves and more laws are needed. And of course because of all these “advanced features” the prices per track will be higher, so they’ll sell even less.

easily amused says:

here’s the thing… we can’t even get the idiots to stop opening questionable email attachments. How long do you think it would take for a malware producer to modify a popular song to be shared with bad code in it? Also, there’s no way in hell any sane person would just open up their firewall for Sony/Virgin/whoever to do auto updates as they please, so the users will still have to take a moment to update the files. Why not just have these extras in their own formats available to members or whatever?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It’s not the same technology, but you’re right it’s the same concept.

Who’s going to pay to run the risk of having their music screwed up by some retard working for a greedy corporation when Winamp does pretty much all the same for free? I’ve seen tours advertised in the bio sections of some of the bands I listen to, but I just don’t care. I do find SOME interesting news updates about the bands in the bio sections too, but since they’re just people they’re usually as boring or more boring than me and the news is doomed to be boring.

There are more features to Winamp than this new file format, but perhaps nobody here should discuss it before the big music devils get the bright idea of buying out the software as a lazy way to accomplish their evil goals, and then bastardize my favorite way to listen to music.

batch (profile) says:

Obviously a winner

From the Reuters link:

BACH, which counts the inventor of the MP3 and a former chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment among its investors, is also hoping that software developers will create new applications and content for the MusicDNA player.

Here I was thinking they would secure the format’s undeniable and history-making success by charging a license to support the format.

Chuky Vomit says:

I don't know that I'd be that interested

I have thousands of CDs in boxes in a closet that have been ripped to the highest quality MP3 that I can produce. When a better medium comes out, they’ll all be re-ripped to that medium. I spend about 20 minutes each year actually looking at my iPod because all it does is plug into iPod controllers.

I know that there are people who would like to have all the goodies, but those seem to be only a few of the people I know.

Perhaps me and my friends are different from mainstream society.

Thinking about this some more, I might actually be interested in the art work as backgrounds for my Apple and Windows desktops. Formatted for my wide screens and high enough resolution to look good on my 23″ LCD monitor.

transmaster (profile) says:

Re: I don't know that I'd be that interested

Mr. Vomit (love that handle) all of the art work you want is already available just by doing a Google image search. I have some very obscure tastes in music and I have always found the art work I am looking for. This is yet another idea that is nothing more them a fart in a steam room between music executives.

Chunky Vomit says:

Re: Re: I don't know that I'd be that interested

You are right, but it is usually pretty low res and square. Low res and square makes sense for the old stuff, but the new stuff is generally pretty small too.

Some days, I think that NASA is the only group around that is forward thinking enough to provide really huge stuff for the growing population of people with really huge displays.


:) says:

MusicDNA super cookie?

I use 2 sites(actually a dozen) to help me see when I miss configured something for proxies.

This one shows you what happens when you have cookies enable by default those cookies are inoucuous unless you are being tracked to gather information for a civil suit.

And the other one gives you a long list of what one can gather from your browser.

Why is that relevant?
MusicDNA could be used to track your habits, what you do, when you do and more maybe not now at the launch but with the ability to change things on the fly how long until people start putting tracking mechanisms on it?.

Now why would anyone want something like that, besides there are open formats that do the same thing without the automatic update part.

Container formats like MKV already offer all of that(subtitles, lyrics, images, metadata, sound, video etc) and are free, ogg is free and open anybody can see inside.

transmaster (profile) says:

Re: MusicDNA super cookie?

If you have the cookie monitoring add-ons and No-Script with FireFox the number of outfits that monitor your internet usage is a legion and it is in layers, and so many of them are trackers owned by Google. I have trackers that are in turn tracked by other trackers, and so on. If you are not using FireFox I would really suggest doing so if you want to see what the Spyware does.

Alec Perkins (user link) says:

MusicDNA vs Apps

The difference between this format and the apps is that it’s a format, and, assuming adoption, is not limited to a single platform the way an iPhone app is.

If this is used to provide worthwhile content and not restrict, it sounds like a great idea. Getting a song that has with it a way to also provide links to video of live performances of the song is just one possibility.

Andy (user link) says:

OK, so it is NOT a new music format. It’s a container that wraps a standard mp3, but has some extra trash to waste space and further restrict content. No thanks.
What, it has “artwork” and “lyrics”? Woo-ha. If I want artwork and lyrics, I’ll go buy the hardcopy album. Same with videos, interviews, and behind-the-scenes junk.
All we want on our digital devices is the song, cut the extra crud out and save it for the collectors, since they’re the only ones who will buy it in the first place. Seriously, taking away the ONE advantage that hardcopy still has surely is not the best way to get people to keep paying for songs.


Alec Perkins (user link) says:

Re: Re:

I disagree. Protecting the hardcopy is just backward thinking. Adding all the benefits of the hardcopy versions and then some (minus any DRM applications) is the best way to sell more music. The art on the physical CD is not nearly as interesting as it was on LPs, mainly because it’s so small by comparison. If the music could optionally come with huge resolution artwork, as well as a self-updating tour schedule or other stuff, it’d be much more valuable than the hardcopy, without needing to be much more expensive in terms of distribution.

For a good example, just look at what Trent Reznor has done with Nine Inch Nails. There’s a (free) download of The Slip that has a PDF of artwork that goes with each song. The AAC version of the music has the artwork embedded, so it shows up on the iPod as each song progresses. All-in-all it’s pretty neat.

Overcast (profile) says:

Sorry, still prefer MP3 in it’s current format.

Any of those ‘file types’ associated with big companies – like Windows Media, Apple whatever… keep them.

I convert it all to MP3, no matter what format I buy it in. All the others I’ve tried just don’t seem as good or seem to require more of a hassle (like FLAC) and don’t offer much more.

Plus my car stereo plays MP3.

Overcast (profile) says:

So what about in 6 years when the company hosting the auth server goes under? or they decide that they want to move to “MusicDNA2” and that all of the musicDNA files must be redownloaded in a 1 week window one at a time. Will i be able to load them on my phone/iPod/PMP/car/HTPC/etc? If it is just an MP3 file with some special info in the metadata section for their player to use/update, i’m in, but thats not what it sounds like it will be.

I’ll still be listening to my normal MP3’s.. heh

I still prefer to buy the real CD and rip – I don’t trust the digital files provided by the recording companies – heck, barely trust the CD’s after Sony’s rootkit fiasco.

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