Who Wants a Souped-Up MP3?
MusicDNA, as it's called, could potentially include lyrics, news, and images, in addition to the basic audio file, which would continue to be playable on any MP3 compatible device or software. And the new file format could be dynamically updated whenever a band, record company, or retailer wants to announce tour dates, interviews, or social networking updates. Users can accept the new material or not. However, illegal downloaders would get only the basic audio file, not the extras.
BACH Technology, inventor of MusicDNA, is based in Europe and China. Its partners include the Fraunhofer Institute, licensor of the MP3 format. A beta version of the technology will roll out in spring and a full version by summer, including a mobile version player presumably with full functionality.
Will MusicDNA make it? This isn't Fraunhofer's first attempt to update the world's most popular audio file format. mp3PRO, which offered better audio quality by piggybacking additional data on top of the original MP3 data, went nowhere. So did MP3 Surround, a 5.1-channel version. But given the prominence of MP3, any attempt to augment the format must be taken seriously. At least for awhile.