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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

MXP4 - MP3 The Next Generation?

For some reason, most of the forward-thinking in the audio world comes from Paris these days. Every year the clever French sonic scientists seem to present something new that's way beyond the common audio technology that's developed in the States or anywhere else.

True to form, they bring us a new format designed to overtake MP3 in its domination of the music file format space - MXP4.

Developed by the Paris-based company Musinaut, what makes MXP4 unique is that it's an interactive file, allowing multiple takes, versions or remixes of the same song within the same file. The file can also hold video and text as well, and can be updated after-the-fact. The listener or viewer can select the version that he or she wants and change to a different one at any time. The format can be made available as a stream or a download.

Assuming that MXP4 can gain some traction, I can see numerous scenarios for it's use:
  • This is a natural for games, with the music for different scenes resident in the same file, presuming that it can switch between them fast enough. Check out a demo on the Musinaut website.
  • It's a boon for DJs and remixers as you can have the same melody or rap with a different feel and beat underneath whenever you wish.
  • As a straight release format it's pretty cool as well, allowing all those mix variations that we always take so much time on (like dance mixes, TV or karaoke tracks, different solos, etc.) that usually never see the light of day.
  • You can add text liner notes or music videos to the file that you're not obligated to view if you don't want to (unlike current Quicktime files).
  • It's all in a single interactive file! How cool is that.
But the big obstacle is that you need a special MXP4 player to make it work, although it's free. The adoption rate will determine if this format makes it, but I'm pretty excited about its possibilities.

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