New Music File Format, MusicDNA, Unveiled

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The fact that music sales are struggling is old news, but a new form of technology, MusicDNA, hopes to lend musicians and record labels a hand as they attempt to combat the sales slump. Created by the same team who introduced the MP3 file in 1993 (Bach Technology), MusicDNA files differ from MP3s in that they contain not just music but extensive artist information—from artwork and song lyrics to tour dates, recent video and Twitter feeds.

The new format is essentially amping up the MP3, giving fans access to their favorite artists in an extended way. Because it offers so much information (each file can hold up to 32 gigs), MusicDNA files will be able to connect musicians and their audience like never before.

“Out of a rusted old VW Beetle we are making a Ferrari,” Stefan Kohlmeyer, the chief executive of Bach Technology, told The Guardian. “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.”

MusicDNA made its debut at the Midem music conference in Cannes, and indie labels Beggars Group (home of Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead) as well as Tommy Boy Entertainment and Delta have already signed on to use the technology.

Apple had a similar idea in mind with their iTunes LP, released last fall, which gives users access to interactive album art and other multimedia elements. MusicDNA will likely be a direct competitor of the iTunes LP, but it will probably cost more since it holds more information (an iTunes LP currently costs $1.29, while a MusicDNA file hasn’t yet been assigned a price tag).

The complete launch for MusicDNA is scheduled for summer of 2010.