Spotify: “URL Will Become Universal Music Format.”
Spotify's Jonathan Forster thinks 2011 will bring us one-step closer to this. The URL becoming the new universal format for music. We won't send out MP3s or links to YouTube videos, the URL itself will be the primary way that fans are exposed to music. You click it and music plays – not for thirty or ninety seconds, but the whole song – every time.
Imagine reading to ebook for 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die and being able to click on every song and hear it as you read. If song URLs are ubiquitous, we can do that. It's possible that the URL will become more widely used than the MP3 file. Regardless, music's final resting place will be digital.
Thinking about this, I'm left wondering whatever happened to MusicDNA. That music format was supposed to be the next big thing by now. To my memory, MusicDNA is centered around richer metadata and true metadata portability.
The company behind it, BACH Technology, envisions a music format that has the lyrics and other online data encoded directly into the file. This would enable major labels to send notifications to users who have downloaded songs and tell them about new developments. All of these features would be disabled the moment that a file found its way onto BitTorrent. I've argued that it will be difficult to get something like this to catch on – especially if it costs more. There's certainly value in improving the consumer experience of the MP3. Making it more desirable to fans and shifting the nature of the format so that it can be used as a pull marketing mechanism. However, I don't see it becoming as ubiquitous as URLs.