Behold! Music labels introduce own music file format, CMX

The music industry never fails to amaze, even as it fails completely. From The Guardian:

Forget WAV, MP3 and M4A – major labels have something new in mind, and it’s called CMX. Sony, Warner, Universal and EMI are reportedly preparing a new digital album format that will include songs, lyrics, videos, liner notes and artwork.

Major labels preparing new digital album format [Guardian]

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15 Responses to Behold! Music labels introduce own music file format, CMX

  1. Anonymous says:

    On the plus side, there is now the opportunity to develop applications that extract the music, export it to MP3, and then automatically import it into iTunes. Think of the money some lucky Russian programmer is going to make.

  2. Rifle-Man says:

    “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.”

    Oh good, so it’ll be a Macromedia Director Projector file like the ones I made in college 10 years ago.

  3. lukus says:

    What do people want from music?

    The ability to listen to it.

    I really couldn’t give rats-arse about liner-notes, lyrics or album art. Album art was only relevant when we could physically hold an album; the concept is now totally redundant. Lyrics can be found via google very easily.

    This is another failed attempt to try to understand the desires of music listeners, and once again it show how out of touch the music industry _STILL_ is.

    They’ve had long enough to play catch up; I think they should just give up.

  4. phisrow says:

    OK, zip file with custom extension, containing a simple standardized directory structure, with audio and video stored in existing formats, with included metadata and an HTML/CSS document binding together the media and the included art assets(png, jpeg, or tiff, also in the directory structure). If you really want to get fancy, XML file accompanied by suitable XSLT.

    Oh, wait. You guys are from the Major Labels. New plan:

    Robust renewable Rights Management Engine based on AACS, along with a persistent rootkit and consumer media tracking server installed, with system and playback statistics silently reported over the internet. We’ll wrap it all in an opaque executable binary blob, (win32 4 lyfe!) that depends on a couple of kernel mode drivers that mess with ASPI, the kernel sound system, and network stack. Throw in a credit card processing system(don’t worry, you’ll have to sign up for a new account each time you buy from a different label) so that people can pay to export 128kb DRMed WMA files(playable on all your favorite Playsforsure devices!) up to one time. Genius!

    There is no way this is going to go well…

  5. Chevan says:

    “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.”

    That sounds absolutely terrible. And I’m pretty sure we can already do most of that with normal mp3s, if you’re willing to deal with cumbersome file sizes.

    Although if I were one of those people who build and distribute viruses, I would be thrilled. There’s nothing like training the general userbase to run new programs with new extensions expecting music if your goal is spreading trojans.

  6. Duffong says:

    I get the creepy feeling the music industry is run by an army of miniaturized Dick Cheney clones.

  7. Clay says:

    “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.”

    This is the future of music, brought to you by the year 1993.

    Just imagine what music will be like in the year 2009! You’ll hook up your cyber-space drive to the Capitol Records Virtual Reality store, pick up a Multi-Media VR Compact Disc of Janet Jackson’s hot new single, down-load it to your On-Line Virtual Reality CD Player, and oh, boy!

    This is so much better than putting an old-fashioned CD in an old-fashioned CD player! It’s got a Brand New Look! And — Mobile Products! It even comes with special portable versions of the CD to down-load to your portable VR On-Line CD player. Radi-cool!

  8. Rob Beschizza says:

    Awesome somments!

    Phishrow wins very hard. But Duffong just frightened me.

  9. alxr says:

    If Apple are producing a competing format to do the same thing, why are they even bothering? If it doesn’t work with the i-ecosystem, isn’t it pretty much sunk before it’s left the harbour?

    Thankfully, Apple’s past indicates that such a thing is likely to be a bundle (just a specially-treated folder) with some XML, MP4 and image files. Their work with HTML 5′s multimedia tags could factor in here, too. Anything but a binary blob, pls.

  10. Stuart says:

    I would personally argue that digital ‘albums’ are unnecessary, but if we are to have them I don’t doubt for a second that there are plenty of people out there that could do a better implementation than the studios will.

    Wouldn’t a really simple ‘up yours’ to the music industry be to write an open spec format that does what they are talking about, minus all the rubbish you know they are gagging to put in it?

  11. Itsumishi says:

    I’m going to disagree with a few things people have said.

    Firstly I don’t think ‘album art’ is redundant with music. As more devices get fancy touch screens etc, I think the opposite will become true. People will want interactive art that goes with their albums. Whilst you listen to your iPod you CAN touch the screen and flip through some photos or whatever of the band recording, or maybe some kind of flash based art that you can do random stuff with. That would be quite cool.

    Secondly the ‘album’ isn’t dead and never will be. It’s still as good as it ever was to listen to a group of songs back to back, sometimes running into each other, sometimes not as it ever was.

    Sure there are easier ways to sell singles and a lot of people are happy with that, but a lot of people do like to hear more than one track at a time.

  12. dole says:

    Aye, basically an audio version of MKV. I’m sure there’s communities out there somewhere, problem is, no one’s talking about it or using it yet. From what I note, there’s finally a handful of DVD player manufacturers supporting MKV.

    Get the pirates/release groups to standardize on a format. A better mousetrap.

  13. nixiebunny says:

    Re #7: They could do that, but it wouldn’t meet the goal of having you pay for the thing.

    The music industry screwed themselves by making the CD format binary and non-encrypted in the first place, so that cat was never in a bag to begin with. Liner notes are already available on Wikipedia for free, so charging for them is a non-stater.

    The problem they have is that the chicken, the iPod, already exists, so they need to make Apple eggs, and they don’t want to do that.

    It would be nice if the music industry types would all just retire and let the rest of us get on with listening to the music we bought once instead of paying for it over and over.

  14. schmod says:

    Couldn’t they do the *exact same thing* with a few additional ID3 tags? The extra tags would be invisible to unsupported devices, but would retain compatibility and be easy to implement in future releases.

    If they wanted to get fancy, they could specify HTML rendering for liner notes and such.

    The music industry could even use its power and influence to standardize on a single format for music videos (h.264 is well-supported by existing devices, and can be encapsulated with metadata).

    Special booklets could be bundled as a PDF, or included in ID3 tags as HTML.

    To tie this together, you could hypothetically ZIP all of the files together, along with a small XML file describing the contents of the album, although this step is largely unnecessary.

    Unfortunately, the music industry hasn’t used its influence in a constructive manner since 1954, when the RIAA standardized vinyl equalization.

  15. Doctor Popular says:

    I’d love to see a more standardized system for metadata. Since I really want the songs to appear correctly (with album art, lyrics, artist info, etc) I have to sell my album as a zip file with mp3s, album art, text files for lyrics and album notes, and of course an m3u file. It’s ugly, but it works well for my intentions, but the problem is that Amazon and iTunes strip down all the info. Making it hard for me to get a consistent package out to everyone who purchases my album.
    I don’t know if CMX files could catch on, but it sure would be nice if we thought about packaging a digital album in the same way we think about package a CD or record.

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