Paris-based music file creator Musinaut has launched a new interactive audio file format that adds a whole host of bells and whistles to music files.
MXP4 has been created to add myriad options to music files, embedding such information as lyrics, upcoming tour dates and images into the file.
According to its creators, MXP4 "transforms an artist's recorded music into an interactive, multi-sensory experience that can be creatively varied and individually adapted for greater personal listener enjoyment."
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The tracks themselves, can be listened to through the company's free music player – which is both Mac and PC compatible, but not available for Linux users.
Slipping some Skins
This 'interactive' experience also includes a number of remixes, called 'skins', where artists can add various remixes to the one audio track, giving users more options when it comes to listening to the music.
There is also the option to seamlessly change between the versions of the song.
Musinaut is hoping, however, that users won't just want to listen to the interactive tracks but create new ones as well, with the help of its new MXP4 Creator.
The software that enables you to create your own MXP4s isn't cheap, though, with a price tag of £279.99.
Musinaut is hoping that its new file format can latch on to the popularity of digital music which, according to IFPI Digital Music Report, 2008, accounts for 15 per cent of the global music market.
Too broad a concept
We spoke to the editor of Future Music magazine, Daniel Griffiths, and here is what he had to say about the new file format: "It's very clever stuff. Now producers and musicians can combine different versions of their track together as a single file and let the listener flip between them seamlessly.
"The big questions is whether listeners actually want the option to flip between the 'DNB mix' or the 'Hard House mix' while they're listening to it. I worry it's too broad a concept for users to understand."
While Griffiths isn't completely taken with the format, the idea behind it is promising, as he explains.
"I think a far easier sell using the same technology would be to push ability to solo and switch different instruments in your favourite tracks," says Griffiths.
"By using MXP4 as a 'multitrack tape' listeners can creating their own mixes by bringing out the elements they like and muting those they don't. If producers and musicians use MXP4 to deliver that – offering subtly different mixes of their tracks rather than jumping wholesale from 'Rock' mix to 'House' – then I'd definitely give MXP4 format tracks a listen."