I just read something over at the Guardian that made me sick to my stomach. Both Apple and the major record labels, Sony, EMI, Warner, Universal, are working on a new file format for music. They can’t or more likely won’t agree on a format. The usual finger pointing and and name calling sounds like it is going on when big businesses try to come up with a new standard to drive profit and not actually help the customer. Do we get anything out of this proposition?
Nothing is known about the Apple format that I could tell only that it would be a new music format called cocktail, a code name I am assuming, but they did reject the music industry album format called CMX. CMX is being touted to have more than just music. It will have music, lyrics, videos, liner notes and art work. Launching the file will give you a new interface where you get more than just the music. To me that just sounds like a pain to get your music.
If Apple doesn’t accept the format how many hoops will we need to jump through to play it in iTunes if we don’t buy the music from iTunes? Will sales of some music only be available on CMX thereby barring iTunes? Format wars for music that we already have and the value add doesn’t actually add value to the product but rather makes it part of a new product. A new product where all you really want is the original product.
I have some hopes for Apples new format a little bit. I expect they will do a bit more with there format giving us something what will be the same for all audio and video moving forward. The drawback will still be DRM and I will still need to jump through hoops to move files around or put them on a different device. I don’t think the Apple solution will be something I are likely to be happy with, I haven’t been in the past.
I don’t see anything good coming from either of these two formats unless it drives an entirely a new format from a consortium or the open source community that will not be DRMed. Something that will provide the functionality we want and catch on like wildfire just like MP3. Who knows maybe Google will do something, but they have enough of my personal information already?