At the Midem music trade fair in Cannes, France, a new music file format was recently unveiled by some of the key figures behind the development of the MP3. The new rich file format, MusicDNA, enables users to include elements such as lyrics, videos, artwork and blog posts to the file’s metadata.
MusicDNA has been created by Norwegian developer Dagfinn Bach, head of development firm Bach Technology, who worked on the first MP3 player in 1993. The project’s investors include German researcher Karlheinz Brandenburg, who is credited with inventing the MP3.
UK record company Beggars Group, whose labels are home to Vampire Weekend, MIA and The Strokes, has signed up to use MusicDNA, as has US label Tommy Boy. But no major labels are currently on board and the MusicDNA files are likely to be more expensive than current music downloads. It will also be in competition with Apple's iTunes LP, which gives users added content including bonus tracks, lyrics and video interviews.
Speaking at the Midem music conference, Mr Bach said to BBC last week: - We can deliver a file that is extremely searchable and can carry up to 32GB of extra information in the file itself. And it will be dynamically updatable so that every time the user is connected, his file will be updated.
MusicDNA is launching a beta version this spring with a full roll-out at the end of the summer.
Mr Brandenburg, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology in Germany, said: - I think it brings together a number of ideas that have been around for a long time. I remember 10 years ago, a lot of people were saying that we need to enrich the user experience, that legal access to music has to give the customers more than just music, and this is certainly one very nice way to do it.