Home / News / Portable Audio News / MP3 Creators Unveil 'MusicDNA' Format to Battle iTunes LP

MP3 Creators Unveil 'MusicDNA' Format to Battle iTunes LP

Gordon Kelly


MP3 Creators Unveil 'MusicDNA' Format to Battle iTunes LP

Could this be the next MP3? Or just another MP3HD or mp3PRO?

Dubbed 'MusicDNA', it is backed by Fraunhofer IDMT, the developers of MP3, and preaches integrated multimedia content as the key hook. What this means is, much like iTunes LP, MusicDNA files will contain artist information, lyrics and sleeve notes, concert dates and even merchandising links and live blog posts or tweets from the artist. This is because, unlike iTunes LP, MusicDNA content will be dynamic so it will keep updating via the Internet.

"Out of a rusted old VW Beetle we are making a Ferrari," claimed Bach Technology CEO Stefan Kohlmeyer, who heads up the team behind the new format. "We are taking an existing idea, giving the end user a lot more and making that file much more valuable – like transforming a tiny house into a huge villa... At the moment there is no real incentive to buy a legal file. If we concentrate on making the legal file, we can help the entire music industry."

Kohlmeyer confirmed that pirate copies of MusicDNA files would have static multimedia content from the moment they were duplicated. Beta launches will be in the spring.

In theory it is a clever idea, but by no means a lone voice. CMX and MXP4 are rival multimedia inclusive audio formats also in development and the potential for yet another unwelcome format war could be on the horizon. Then again, will anyone care? I'd argue the majority of people buy music for the music not the extras and MP3 remains ubiquitous, compact and - while purists may moan - can be encoded up to a high enough quality to fool virtually anyone... including us.


via The Guardian



January 26, 2010, 8:51 pm

I believe this will only appeal to those who buy special edition DVDs for the extras - not that there is anything wrong with that.

Peter 20

January 26, 2010, 9:04 pm

I will not put anything other then OGG on my media player.


January 26, 2010, 9:04 pm

Expect Amazon to back this format.


January 26, 2010, 9:26 pm

For posterity's sake, I submit here that this format is doomed to failure. In years to come my powers of prediction shall be commented upon with awe.


January 26, 2010, 9:34 pm

Once you've brought something, these record companies and film companies have no reason to add extras and update content.. for nothing. Much like BD-Live, they won't do anything with this other than flood stuff you own with adverts for more stuff to buy.


January 26, 2010, 9:40 pm

I'm not even bothered to see the cover design of the album im listening to on my phone...


January 26, 2010, 10:09 pm

Call me pessimistic but this has no chance of succeeding. I don't want my music library to constantly keep talking to the internet. I find Google does a pretty good job of giving my lyrics, tour dates and tweets thanks.


January 26, 2010, 10:26 pm

Words fail me. What exactly is the innovation here, in the first place? Some new metadata added to an MP3 file? Well, that's stunning! Nobody ever did that before! And some sort of infrastructure that lets you update the metadata -- most of which doesn't need updating in the first place?

And seemingly no word about player support, which, unlike adding new metadata, is a tough obstacle to overcome. Not much, or actually, no point at all to it if your desktop player let alone your PMP don't use the metadata. I hope they don't expect people to use a special player; I'm sure they'll require a plugin, at least, where that is even feasible (does iTunes support plugins?).

And of course, you can do most if not all of those things already. It's not like an bands twitter account, website, or their tour dates are hard to find (using such obscure services like Google). Last.fm also lists tour dates and even notifies you when bands you like are in your area. Lyrics are also available online, and some players can display them when you listen to a song; no MusicDNA necessary.

Finally, MusicBrainz supports fingerprinting audio files independent of the codec/bitrate used; the MusicBrainz hash can be used to uniquely identify a song; I'm mentioning this because the DNA part in MusicDNA seems to imply something similar is going on here.


January 26, 2010, 10:36 pm

@all - yep, looks like a big fat fail to me too. But the industry does keep trying!


January 26, 2010, 10:51 pm

How would this work when music files are shared among numerous personal computers and playback devices? Would the content only update on the main device the file was downloaded onto? I don't see the point myself and it'll only bloat the file sizes even more than is necessary.


January 26, 2010, 11:38 pm

Hugo and Gordon - I PRAY that you are right in predicting it will fail. If MP3 is to be replaced, it should be with an equally simple format that provides MUSIC at good quality with a reasonable file size. And DRM-free!

Orinj: How would it work? Very poorly, I would imagine. I suspect we'll have DRM-laden files which, if we're very lucky, we may be granted permission to use on two or even three devices (which probably have to be activated in some tortuously complex manner).

I particularly like the quotes from Herr Kohlmeyer: "Out of a rusted old VW Beetle we are making a Ferrari"... Eh? A Ferrari has a massive performance advantage over a Beetle, and is generally made to a much higher standard using far better materials. Will MusicDNA sound that much (if at all) better than MP3? Surely a better analogy would be "Out of an old VW Beetle we are making an old VW Beetle with some fluffy dice, a nodding dog and some bumper stickers."

As for "transforming a tiny house into a huge villa...", that's totally meaningless - maybe he just has a thing for mixed metaphors...


January 27, 2010, 2:04 am

The only file-type I can see eventually replacing mp3s is flac files. However it is still not supported enough by enough audio-playing applications/plugins yet. But it will soon.


January 27, 2010, 6:08 am

Oh bloody hell.

You gotta wonder: who are these guys and how do they have jobs?

Sure, haven't we all thought that plain MP3s are just too boring and not nearly multimedia enough. Often, I asked myself, wouldn't it be great if I had information like album art, lyrics and pointless facts on the one hit wonder currently playing available? But how.

I know, somebody should pack the internets into them MP3 files. That would be stunning. And for convenience, it could check my mails too and post them via dynamic MP3 tags: 1 - Metallica - Enter Sandman - You've got 3 messages!

It is truly terrifiying how little the generation 40+ understands the world of today. And we expect these people to make informed decisions about software patents...


January 27, 2010, 5:19 pm

I hear y'all and pretty much agree this isn't something that would be of great interest to me but then I only ever buy CDs as it gives me the most flexibility when it comes to ripping; I suspect most of you are the same. So if it were just down to the Trusted Reviews readership then I suspect this wouldn't get much traction. However, a lot of people do download and the kidz love all this stuff as far as I can see so who are we poo-poo it.

If I could rip in this format and have access to the content as I've paid for the CD then it might be quite cool.


January 28, 2010, 12:30 am

murrell101: While I doubt I can get away with calling myself one of the "kidz" (or the "youths") any more, I am of what you might call the Napster generation, and this holds absolutely no interest for me (it does however set alarm bells ringing regarding DRM, restricted ownership and usage rights, bloated files and limited compatibility).

I buy maybe two CDs a year, and download a LOT. And what I am downloading is the music - not the lyrics and not lots of promotional material for the band or the record company. If I wanted those, I could Google it, or of course buy the CD if I really wanted the artwork. I can't see the next generation abandoning simple music formats and being wowed by the idea of paying for the bumf that comes with a CD, with none of the real advantages of a CD, just for the sheer joy of downloading it. But then I am foolishly neglecting the possibility of the industry conning millions into buying crap they don't need or want, by constantly yelling at them that they DO want it really (what I like to call the "App factor") :P

comments powered by Disqus