Two so-called MP3 missionaries are considering whether or not to extend their US tour internationally to argue against the record industry's attempts to displace MP3.
Bruce Fries and Marty Fries, authors of The MP3 and Internet Audio Handbook, will add 100 US cities to the 75 they have already visited on their 'missionary tour', and plan to review the possibility of an international roadshow.
The tour features free seminars and demonstrations held at bookstores, colleges, airport lounges and shops.
"We're excited about the new technology, and working to get the word out so others will know about it," said Bruce Fries, adding that the tour will bridge the gap between consumers and MP3.
Interest in MP3 cuts across all generations. Bruce Fries said one recent delegate was an 82-year-old man who wanted to convert old records into a digital format.
He said many people confuse MP3, the open standard, with the company MP3.com, and that others are trying to imply that MP3 is an inferior quality format.
The record industry is pushing the secure digital music initiative (SDMI) standard, a set of rules and requirements covering copyright law and online music distribution.
MP3 is the file extension for Mpeg audio layer 3. Because MP3 files are small, they can easily be transferred across the web.
"The RIAA [Recording Industry Association of America] and the major labels just don't get it," said Bruce Fries. "People want music in open formats like MP3. SDMI formats rely on encryption, and eliminate the portability and convenience that make formats like MP3 so popular."
Marty Fries said there are many misconceptions about MP3, such as poor sound quality, the potential for lack of revenue for artists and that most users are college students. "Our goal is to educate consumers and counter the misinformation that is being spread," he said.
The tour is sponsored by internet music providers EMusic.com and MusicMatch.
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