@ Midem: New MusicDNA Format Wants To Bolt Rich Media On To MP3

Talk about ballsy. The German co-inventor of MP3 and a Norwegian company called Bach have teamed to create a new audio format they reckon is “the successor to MP3”.

Bach is touting the format, called MusicDNA, as a way to make buying legal downloads more attractive. At the launch event, Karlheinz Brandenberg, who is credited with creating MPEG-3, told me MusicDNA uses the exact same audio compression technique but adds significantly more and richer metadata than is allowed by MP3’s built-in ID3 metadata standard.

The idea is essentially augmenting MP3 with lots of rich content, defined in an XML file. In a presentation, Bach CEO Stefan Kohlmeyer showed how an app playing a MusicDNA also shows relevant Twitter and MySpace feeds, Wikipedia articles and sleeve art, and could link through to concert ticket retailers and more. “We bundle all the audio data and business intelligence in one file. The data can be automatically updated whenever you are online.”

All this value-added content could appeal to labels keen to arrest sluggish download sales, Kohlmeyer said: “You could even sell it for double the price of an ordinary MP3. If content creators make an effort to put a lot of exclusive content in to it, you could definitely charge a higher premium.”

“Only legitimately purchased tracks will dynamically update, and pirated versions will remain as static files,” according to the release.

The format is not being used in the wild yet but is due for a Springtime beta with full commercial rollout during the Summer. Kohlmeyer claimed 10 “partners” are aboard to use the format including Norwegian music service InProdicon, UK retailer PeoplesMusicStore and labels Beggars Group, Tommy Boy Entertainment and Rebeat Digital. And China