Yet another format has arrived for capturing music on the Internet, but this time it has got the thumbs up from the record industry.
Digital-music software company Liquid Audio has teamed up with removable storage maker Iomega to give consumers a secure way of downloading music from the Internet directly onto Zip drives, creating what they claim to be a secure copyright-protected way of distributing music online.
As part of the initiative Iomega will bundle Liquid Music player with select Zip drives, confirmed a company spokesperson. The software allows users to play back music downloaded from the Internet, disallowing unauthorised second-generation copying of sound files.
Liquid Audio and Iomega have also partnered with online music-retailing site SoundStone.com to create Tunus Collectus, a monthly music club that will allow site visitors to download selected tracks by popular artists. All three companies declined to disclose financial terms of the agreements.
"Our goal is to continually provide new portability options for consumers to help propel the legitimate sale of music on the Internet," said Gerry Kearby, Liquid Audio chief executive.
The Iomega deal comes after a string of recent partnerships for Liquid Audio. Earlier this month it signed an agreement with Diamond Multimedia Systems, makers of the Rio portable MP3 player, to port secure Liquid Audio files to the player. Liquid Audio then announced it would support CD-R and CD-RW drives through Adaptec?s CD-recording oftware. In the summer Intel invested an undisclosed cash sum in Liquid Audio.
The Recording Industry Association of America, an organisation funded by the powerful record industry is said to be happy with the deal.
Heavyweight record labels have been increaslingly worried about the ease of music piracy on the Internet and the lack, in their eyes, of a secure, online distribution solution.
Previously consumers wanting to purchase music in Liquid Audio format had to provide a credit card number which was bound to each file as part of a password. Anyone creating an unauthorised copy of a music track where foreced to include the credit card number with the copies, which anyone who had the media file could see. Zip disks, however, have their own serial numbers, so will not require a credit card based password. Up to 100 minutes of Liquid audio format can fit onto a Zip disk, claim the companies.
Supporters of rival digital-music format MP3, however, claim the deal is unimportant as users do not want more security. Unlike music encoded in the Liquid Audio format, MP-3 format music files can be reproduced freely.
There are more than 100,000 tracks in Liquid Audio format available for preview, purchase and download at several music and retail sites, including Amplified at www.amplified.com, K-Tel. at www.ktel.com and Music maker at www.musicmaker.com.
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