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Old 08-12-2009, 12:06 PM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default Recording Industry Planning New Digital Format, "CMX"

From our front-page news:
MP3? FLAC? M4A? Apparently, such formats aren't good enough for a few large players in the recording industry, such as Sony, Warner and Universal, as the entire conglomerate is planning on releasing a brand-new format, tentatively called, "CMX". This format's main goal is to sell entire albums as a digital format, not single tracks. Similar to how Apple's iTunes embeds album art into their M4A files, CMX would implement that, along with lyrics, and potentially other bonuses.

This new format, is of course, doomed. There's a reason the MP3 format is so popular. First, it works. Today's encoders are so robust, that you can have a modestly-sized MP3 to one encoded at a high bitrate of 320kbit/s, or even beyond in some cases. It's successful, because it's popular, and all media players out there support it - even the iPod, which prefers M4A's.

That's not to say that CMX, aside from the ridiculous name, is a horrible idea in theory, but I'm afraid it's far too late in the game to see a real chance of it becoming successful. After all, no current media players will be able to use it (except ones that have update-able software), and Apple has already rejected it in lieu of creating their own such format. Unfortunately, Apple's is more likely to succeed, at least for a while, since the iPod is still the leading player on the market. The scary thing, of course, is that their format would not likely work in other players, or anywhere outside of iTunes, unless the company chooses to license it, which I can't personally see happening.

Again, it's not a horrible idea, but for something like this to be truly successful, we'd need total openness... a format that's not exclusive to one company. The idea behind CMX and whatever Apple has en route is that it should recreate the experience of buying the real CD. So you get album art, liner notes, perhaps some extra content, and whatever else they might choose to throw in there. But with CMX offering so much more than a typical downloaded MP3 or M4A... you'd imagine there would be a premium as well. What's that mean? More than ever, it would make more sense to just go buy the physical CD, and rip it however you like.


Credit: Bob Donlon

"Apple at first told us that they were not interested, but now they have decided to do their own, in case ours catches on," a label rep told the Times. "Ours will be a file that you click on, it opens and it would have a brand new look, with a launch page and all the different options. When you click on it you're not just going to get the 10 tracks, you're going to get the artwork, the video and mobile products."


Source: The Guardian
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Old 08-12-2009, 01:39 PM   #2
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This new format, is of course, doomed.
Sounds like it would be easier to just distribute zipped ISOs of the CD itself.
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Old 08-12-2009, 01:54 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by 2Tired2Tango View Post
Sounds like it would be easier to just distribute zipped ISOs of the CD itself.
Well, that doesn't solve the problem that the recording industry is tackling. The goal here is to bundle more with the songs, like the liner notes, album art, and other bonuses that some artists include (such as video content or a game of some sort). The zipped idea is a good one though, because the end result would be something you could just extract to your desktop, and all of the songs and individual extras would be there.

The problem, though, is that this solution is not all-in-one, which these peeps are apparently going for. Their solution is "simple", and unfortunately, there are likely many who would download a zip file and not know what to do with it, especially in the non-tech crowd. A single file that runs straight through iTunes or another media player is a lot easier to understand, though.

Of course, another option is this. Create an all-in-one file that acts as an archive. When run through a media player, it essentially looks into the file to get the data it needs (much like how applications and games work, with single large files), but on the other side of the token, allow those who want to, to right-click and extract, then deal with whatever is included any way they prefer.
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Old 08-12-2009, 05:24 PM   #4
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Of course, another option is this. Create an all-in-one file that acts as an archive. When run through a media player, it essentially looks into the file to get the data it needs (much like how applications and games work, with single large files), but on the other side of the token, allow those who want to, to right-click and extract, then deal with whatever is included any way they prefer.

ooooorrrrrr.... they could include zip extraction in their players.

I was thinking more like a true ISO (CD Image)... it's all one file that could be unpacked on the fly and cherry picked for what the player can do... or, as you suggest, handed to an archiving program to be broken out into it's individual components... IZArc will suck the guts out of an ISO and it's free...
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Old 08-12-2009, 05:47 PM   #5
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I don't think the new format's future is as bleak as you think... for the simple reason that Apple is going to push it. Or specifically, Apple is wanting to push their own propriatary Apple-only version of this new format. The ironic thing is the music industy, for obvious reasons, is against making CMX or some copy of it a propriatary Apple-only format.
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Old 08-13-2009, 12:30 PM   #6
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I don't think the new format's future is as bleak as you think... for the simple reason that Apple is going to push it. Or specifically, Apple is wanting to push their own propriatary Apple-only version of this new format. The ironic thing is the music industy, for obvious reasons, is against making CMX or some copy of it a propriatary Apple-only format.
Well, that's the thing... if Apple tackles it, it's not going to fail that fast. It's still too bad, because it will be Apple-only, and that's just ridiculous. Of course, it will be interesting to see if other MP3 player makers are able to license it... if so, it might catch on.

I don't like the idea at all though. But, I'm not too typical... I still much prefer to walk down to the store and pick up what I need, or order it online.
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:56 AM   #7
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Proprietary software and devices suk big time and people are slowly coming to the point of not using the product line.
Dell, HP and many more MAKE you use their replacement parts for repairs.
As for a new format of recording and playback, I think we may have seen enough.
From records to 4 track, to 8 track, to cassette, to WAV, FLAC and MP3.... Someone has to stand up and say NO More.
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:31 PM   #8
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I cant remember what other players support it, but foobar has a plugin to read zipped media.

I could get down to something like that... maybe.
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Old 08-19-2009, 12:03 AM   #9
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I cant remember what other players support it, but foobar has a plugin to read zipped media.

I could get down to something like that... maybe.
In that sense, it is quite like an ISO. VLC can do the same with a DVD ISO. It loads right up as if you have the DVD in the ROM drive. That's not something I'd be totally against. I'm not attached to having 10,000 files in my music folder.

Still, this would have to be available as a lossless format. I don't like being forced to deal with less-than-perfect bit-rates.
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