Music 2.0: Will MP3 become obsolete?

26 May 2008

The MP3 may have mostly replaced the CD to reign as the standard digital audio format but while its compression makes for small files ideal for downloading, audiophiles say this results in a sound quality that is not strictly high-fidelity, unlike the good old compact disc.

Enter MT9 or Music 2.0, as it is being referred to commercially. This format encodes audio in six distinct channels – vocal, chorus, piano, guitar, bass and drum – all of which can be turned on or off at will, depending on what the listener wants to focus on in any given song.

Created by the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI): a government-funded South Korean body, and commercialised by South Korean firm Audizen, the MT9 is looking to challenge MP3 as the digital audio standard.

At the moment, Audizen is selling some albums through its website that have been encoded in this format and according to the Korea Times, older albums from bands including Queen are being converted into this MT9 format, so we will finally be able to get all the bits in Bohemian Rhapsody word perfect.

This file format will have no DRM (digital rights management) and is said to already have interest from LG Electronics, amongst others.

By Marie Boran