New MP3 Format Likely to be Ignored

By Richard Menta 1/25/09

The word is that a new version of the MP3 codec called MusicDNA has been relased in the wild. Rolled out by Bach Technology and designed to curb the horrors of music piracy the format is clearly targeting online digital music initiatives as potential adopters. Will it fly? Here is what I wrote nine years ago in the summer of 2001 that might shed some light on MusicDNA's potential. The article talked about the Fraunhofer Institute's official update of the format called MP3Pro:

"It is the user, not the record labels that will drive which format will be dominant. File security software offers little incentive for users to switch away from a format they have already invested heavily in. It is a disincentive to be honest"

In that article I also brought up a point on what was then the second most used codec by consumers, WMA:

"MP3 is more consumer friendly where WMA is more record industry friendly, a fact that plays against Microsoft. As NY Times reporter Matt Richtel found in his article New Economy: Curdled Musical Romance Gets Couples Counseling there are some 70 million music-consuming Napster users, and many of them say they don't trust the recording companies. That's millions of users who may extend that distrust to any products that declare themselves as anti-piracy (a record industry term abhored by many Napster users) like Microsoft has done with WMA.

Microsoft would eventually abandon the WMA format for Zune. MP3Pro never achieved any reasonable market traction. MusicDNA might find a few labels to sign on, but there is little to compel a consumer marketplace that wrote off several codecs before George W. finished his first term in office.

Richard Menta

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