MusicDNA, A New Music Backbone in Transit


When you whip out your iPod on the subway to scroll your volume to the left, surreptitiously making sure no one is peering over at your guilty pleasure, you’re probably not aware of a new medium that the creators of the MP3 and MP3 player have been devising. An alternative to the widely accepted and almighty MP3, MusicDNA will be a constantly updating stream of band-specific multimedia for your pod.

With the backing of the original inventor of the MP3, Norwegian developer Dagfinn Bach, the creator of the first MP3 player in ’93, has created a breakthrough format that will dynamically update your legally-obtained music to create an enriched audio experience. Speaking at Cannes’ MIDEM Conference, Bach debuted the news of “a file that is extremely searchable and can carry up to 32GB of extra information in the file itself,” consisting of song lyrics, music videos, album artwork, and relevant blog posts. Impressive.

Sure, iTunes has something like this, the new iTunes LP (pictured above) that will be a visual experience from the safety of your home computer. It’s a simulation of a vinyl, with animated lyrics and liner notes to fanboy the flame of your inner music geek. A clever idea, but in addition to not updating, LP doesn’t sync to your “iPortable library,” which is where MusicDNA comes into play, and also serves as one of its main selling points.

Will this finally be the end-all to online music piracy? Probably not. But with established labels signed on, such as UK’s The Beggars Group (home of bigwigs like Vampire Weekend, Radiohead, and Sigur Rós) and hip-hop heavy Tommy Boy Entertainment, the potential for growth is roofless (not ruthless). MusicDNA is launching a beta version this spring, so look forward to that, as well as the eventual full roll-out at the end of the summer.

What do you think? Will it prove to be a proper rival to the MP3, or is it just dead air space?