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August 30, 2007

Death of a Music Store

In this case, it's Sony's Connect store which will expire sometime in March of 2008.  The Sony ATRAC format goes with it.  Sony never had a chance with either.  The Connect client software was problematic for consumers and an embarrassment for Sony.  The ATRAC file format was heavily DRMed and tied to Sony products.  Sony must have thought they were going to be just like Apple and draw a big consumer base due to its position in consumer electronics.  That never happened.  Let's recall:  MiniDisc, UMD discs for the PlayStation Portable, excessive DRM on SonyBMG CDs, Memory Sticks, Beta, of course, and now ATRAC.  Sony has to realize that it could never compete with ubiquitous standards, even if some of those standards are proprietary.  An alternative is usually not compelling unless it offers something better than exclusivity.  Otherwise, what's the point?

Sony recommends that consumers who have ATRAC collections on the Connect service burn their files to CD before the March cutoff.  Local files will still work with ATRAC compliant devices though Sony's new consumer audio devices won't support ATRAC, just non Sony standards such as WMA, MP3, and AAC.  Think of ATRAC files similar to the stack of Beta tapes boxed in the basement next to the player that hasn't been plugged in for 20 years.  Look inside the box and you'll probably find a lapel button that says "Beta is better."  Oh, the nostalgia.

More in TG Daily, Information Week, and the International Herald Tribune.

August 30, 2007 | Permalink

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