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Music Piracy Technology

Bach Launches Updated MP3 Format 279

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the more-than-just-hinderance-a-novel-idea dept.
An anonymous reader writes to tell us that Bach Technology has rolled out an updated MP3 file format in a bid to combat music piracy. Dubbed "MusicDNA," the new format offers embedded "updatable premium content" like lyrics, videos, news updates, and album artwork. "Using the new technology, music labels and bands will be able to send updates to the music files – with tour dates, interviews or updates to social networking pages – while illegally-downloaded files remain static. ... No major labels have signed up to use MusicDNA so far, but British record company Beggars Group and US label Tommy Boy are both on board. However, the files are likely to be more expensive than MP3 files – according to the BBC – and will have to compete with Apple's iTunes LP, which already provides additional content such as bonus tracks, lyrics and video interviews."
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Bach Launches Updated MP3 Format

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  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:01PM (#30894756) Journal

    with tour dates, interviews or updates to social networking pages – while illegally-downloaded files remain static.

    So if I want to buy music legitly, in addition to paying for the track I will now also get spammed with ads?

  • Extra content (Score:5, Insightful)

    by e2d2 (115622) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:04PM (#30894808)

    Given that one of the main reasons for buying music over simply downloading it is art work, lyrics, and extra content, this might not be a bad idea. IF you can truly restrict access. Otherwise you're just giving more reason to pirate the format.

  • What? Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DigitalGodBoy (142596) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:04PM (#30894814) Homepage
    This was dead before they wrote the first line of the spec. The MP3 genie is out of the bottle and there's no amount of wishful thinking that can be done by the record companies to stuff it back in.
  • No thanks, Bach (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:05PM (#30894824) Homepage Journal

    Just when the patent on MP3 is set to expire they "update" it with DRM? WTF? This will ensure that the old, soon-to-be free file format will stay around.

    I hope Ogg doesn't think since MP3 has this cruft they have to too. Of course, MP3 may be playing catch up with Microsoft; WMA files have had DRM for a long time. The DRM was in fact (and still is) a security risk.

    I'll stick with OGG and even better, SHN and FLAC.

  • Wrong Audience? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nemyst (1383049) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:05PM (#30894826) Homepage
    Maybe I'm really bad at marketing, but this seems like it's targeting the wrong audience. Those who download illegal music probably do not care about going to concerts or reading up on interviews - they only want the music. This will at best be another marketing tool for the most hardcore audience, at worst a total waste of time and money.
  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:07PM (#30894854) Homepage
    Yes! Embed video interviews that are 10 times as big as the mp3 itself, because that's exactly what I want to squeeze onto my music player's limited space.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:07PM (#30894858)

    In other words, if I download a file illegally, I'm guaranteed to be left alone and my files won't be changed around without my consent or prior knowledge?

    Hm.

  • by alop (67204) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:08PM (#30894880) Journal

    Sounds like a misguided effort. What I really want, is high-quality audio in smaller file sizes. It seems like they're creating a solution without a problem, or for the wrong problem.

    I understand the point of incentivizing legitimate downloads, but the incentive here is something I (or just about anyone) can get with a quick google search.

    If they really want to incentivize legit downloads, give me exclusive content or, life-like audio... Heck, I'd take the music equivalent of "Director's Commentary" over their proposal.

  • Comical (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rbrander (73222) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:08PM (#30894882) Homepage

    ...a "successor to MP3", which removes the most popular feature of MP3, the ability to control your own purchased copy of the property. Yeah, that'll bring back the customers you chased away with the last 3 attempts at controlled digital content.

    It can be "updated"...who wants to bet that one kind of "update" is like the Amazon "update" of their sale of Orwell's '1984'...total deletion.

    Do not pass "Go", do not collect millions of customers...go directly to the ash-heap of computer history.

  • by Adult film producer (866485) <van@i2pmail.org> on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:08PM (#30894888)
    I'll just keep ripping cds to .flac and distributing them so others can convert them to whatever audio format they prefer. Seems like a reasonable compromise.
  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:11PM (#30894946)

    Using the new technology, music labels and bands will be able to send updates to the music files – with tour dates, interviews or updates to social networking pages

    They forgot to mention that this would also provide an exploit for malware writers to use to get into people's machines.

  • Oh Great! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pm_rat_poison (1295589) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:11PM (#30894956)
    More expensive DRM-laden adware music! This is JUST what we need to change our minds about NOT CARING about music enterprises! Making the lives of the pirates easier compared to those who pay for the content is such a great idea! It's worked before, hasn't it?
  • Re:Wrong Audience? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:12PM (#30894974) Journal
    I don't know if anybody cares about interviews; but research tends to demonstrate that pirates are, as a body, more enthusiastic about(and bigger consumers of) music than non-pirates.

    Now, if anybody actually thinks that this magic new format will be able to distinguish between the evil and the good when it comes to updating with exciting new stuff, I have some very exciting prospects in the field of bridge-related real estate to share with them.
  • Re:Wrong Audience? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:13PM (#30894986)

    No, you are correct.

    This is a perfect example of a techies invention looking for a solution.

    Sometimes things like this takes off and other times it doesn't. I think this is a dead end as far as an into-piracy technology. OTOH, I see this being used by the recording industry to increase profits - in the meantime, the RIAA continuing with its anti-piracy legal system shenanigans.

  • Will this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rossdee (243626) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:15PM (#30895008)

    be compatible with my existing MP3 player(s)

    Thought not..

  • Re:Wrong Audience? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Korin43 (881732) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:17PM (#30895030) Homepage
    Actually, pirates are the music industry's more valuable customers [torrentfreak.com]. It turns out that people who download the most music actually go to the most concerts and buy the most music also. It's still a terrible idea though, since it's basically mp3's with built in ads. I'm not sure where they will find people willing to pay extra for that.
  • What CDs? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:22PM (#30895096) Homepage Journal

    I'll just keep ripping cds to .flac and distributing them so others can convert them to whatever audio format they prefer. Seems like a reasonable compromise.

    Do the record labels even make Compact Discs anymore? I thought they all switched to non-conforming discs compatible with some CD players.

  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:23PM (#30895108) Journal

    Both you, and the grandparent post miss the point. You are not the customer.

    File sizes do not matter. Spam does not matter. You are not the customer.

    You only have one choice, to realize that you are not the customer, or ignore the problem.

    Why would you buy something when you're not the customer? Would you buy a McDonalds Hamburger, if what you got was a Spamburger instead? On the other hand, you might prefer spam to McDonalds Hamburger. I know I would!

    Except I'm Kosher. ;)

    And I figure this is cracked in 3 ... 2 .. 1.

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:26PM (#30895148) Homepage Journal

    You left out drop the price.
    Really folks when a song is less than 99 cents it isn't worth my time to pirate it. If I like it I will buy it.

  • Re:Useless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:28PM (#30895176) Journal

    Maybe a cappella, no lyrics or remix versions of the songs, but those would most likely just be pirated just as as the main music files too.

    Maybe versions of the song before the vocal track was processed with AutoTune. When people get to hear the real "talent", the record companies won't have to worry about music piracy ever again (or sales for that matter).

  • by InlawBiker (1124825) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:29PM (#30895184)

    Doesn't matter what we, the end users, want. The customer is big record labels. They want a format to "combat piracy while adding value and opportunities for marketing synergy in strategic channels."

    The folks who designed the format know perfectly well it will never go anywhere. So what! They're getting paid.

  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:29PM (#30895190) Homepage Journal

    Umm, are you serious?

    They can update the file with new information at their whim if you opt-in.

    That's a HUGE potential exploit. Outside access to modify files? How long until someone figures out a way to use this to gain write access to root?

  • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:29PM (#30895196)
    http://www.geg.ca/en/show/pressrelease/1348 [www.geg.ca]

    One example. $250 for the best tickets for U2. Those prices are not unusual any more. Celine Dion did about two dozen shows in Montreal where the best tickets were similarly priced. $100+ for "average" artists is entirely normal. When was the last time you went to a concert? They've become _EXTREMELY_ expensive in the last couple years as bands have realized you can pirate a song but you cannot pirate the experience of going to a live show. That is where the money is to be made.
  • by godrik (1287354) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:31PM (#30895210)

    instead spend money on good song writers and good performers and make good music.

    But that's difficult to find. It is easier to spend money on crappy engineers.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:38PM (#30895298) Homepage Journal

    You are not the customer.

    Welcome to the Corporate World Order.

    We are no longer consumers. We are consumables. Corporations don't exist to sell us things to fill our needs. We exist to feed their machine.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:41PM (#30895344) Homepage Journal

    My old player was 80gigs, but when I needed to buy a new one last month I was hard pressed to find one larger then 32gigs, with many being around the 16gig size.

    The shrinking size has nothing to do with the size of media files and everything to do with flash memory having larger profit margins than hard drives.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:42PM (#30895364) Homepage Journal

    I hope it's an open standard

    Not likely.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:43PM (#30895384)

    I hate to think what the record companies are going to include with this new format, lets face it they cannot even manage to tag mp3's properly most of the time.

  • Re:No thanks, Bach (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:44PM (#30895390) Homepage Journal

    That's true, but they'll do their damndest to make the new format the new default.

  • by sageres (561626) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:59PM (#30895636)
    Ok the article states:

    "MusicDNA was developed by Norwegian firm Bach Technology, the company that also created the MP3 file, in an attempt to combat illegal file-sharing."

    (emphasis mine) Ok well I am sorry but I do not understand. According to ematch.eu:

    Founded in March 2007, BACH is a new and fast growing music technology company. BACH has achieved a strategic partnership with Fraunhofer IDMT, an internationally proven and trusted institution in the music industry. In December 2009 BACH finalized it's first major investment round. Shareholders include Karlheinz Brandenburg (one of the inventor of the MP3 algorithm), 247 Inc. (the company of Shigeo Maruyama, the former Sony Music and Sony Computing CEO) and the German VC b-mt.

    So, how is the company responcible for mp3 format, because Karlheinz Brandenburg was responsible for one of the mp3 algorithms? And, he is just a shareholder. By far, he was not the only one who brought it about, and his implementation was one of several that made it into market. But as you can see -- the major shareholders are the music industry, specifically 247 Inc, the arm of Sony who are interested in it. In short Bach Technologies are overstating their credentials. They did not create MP3 and this was done for no other reason then an attempt to bring more DRM into the fold of the market.

  • by thehostiles (1659283) on Monday January 25, 2010 @04:30PM (#30896100)

    so?

    the "extra information" they're offering is of absolutely NO value.
    we can get tour dates, album artwork, interviews and other goodies anywhere else free of charge.

    this changes nothing. You're actually going to end up getting a normal music file that takes up a bit more space on your hard drive.

  • Re:No thanks, Bach (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @04:31PM (#30896142)

    Yeah. I'm sure they'd like that. And I'd like Scarlet Johansen to slob my knob tonight. The probability of the two happening are about the same.

  • Re:What CDs? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by proxima (165692) on Monday January 25, 2010 @05:05PM (#30896708)

    Do the record labels even make Compact Discs anymore? I thought they all switched to non-conforming discs compatible with some CD players

    The backlash against those copy-protected discs was strong enough that I haven't seen one in a while. The CD these days is still the best way to get a non-EULA encumbered, lossless version of the vast majority of music. The loss of "first sale" rights may be one unfortunate consequence of moving to online distribution. I prefer my music to come without a license.

  • by Lord Byron II (671689) on Monday January 25, 2010 @05:46PM (#30897212)

    Saying it has "no value" is like saying that Wikipedia has no value because there already exist print encyclopedias. I think, done correctly, this could be fairly unobtrusive and beneficial. Imagine, you download a single you like and it already contains Amazon links to buy the full album. Or it lets you know when the band's next release comes out.

    I for one welcome this idea. Instead of penalizing the legitimate buyers of a product with DRM, they are attempting to reward the buyers with additional content. Our relationship with the content industries is always going to be one of a carrot or a stick, and I much prefer the carrot.

  • by Merls the Sneaky (1031058) on Monday January 25, 2010 @08:53PM (#30899228)

    Sounds like advertisement to me, personally I hate advertisements.

  • by macslut (724441) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:30PM (#30899866)
    Saying it has "no value" is like saying a paid membership to a mirror of Wikipedia has no value. Your examples don't show any added value. "Imagine, you download a single you like and it already contains Amazon links to buy the full album." Like iTunes and any other software (and even hardware) not only can do, but do so effectively now using the meta data? "Or it lets you know when the band's next release comes out." Again, totally doable now. There are tons of apps (free) that allow you to get all kinds of information, or make purchases based on the meta information in the song file. Heck, Shazam does all these bells and whistles just by listening to a few seconds. Don't introduce a new file format unless it truly provides value. In this case it doesn't do anything except for the people who "created" it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @11:10AM (#30905552)

    Love how you dismiss the costs of bandwidth.

    Oh yes, let's consider the bandwith costs per 99c track.

    1 Track on CD approx 30MB
    1 Download track, hi-quality, approx 10MB.
    Now let's suppose I was distributing this on a really crappy retail cost home connection.
    I could probably upload 5Gb/month for $20 - 4c.
    Allow for commercial bandwidth rates? Less than 1/2c at worst.
    That's why you ignore bandwidth. It's barely worth mentioning on a per-track basis and most importantly irrelevant compared to the 99c cost.

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