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More Choices in Digital Music

Boot Camp feature for Friday, March 5, 1999

More choices in digital music you can download on the web. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bootcamp, a report on computers and technology. The recording industry is scrambling to catch up with consumers who have discovered a great source of new music. Much of it free, on the web. The best known format is MP3, a way of compressing digital music so it downloads faster and still sounds good. The files can also be played in handheld portable players. The recording industry is worried because the files can be easily copied and passed around. At ATT Labs, they've developed what they call the DigitalPhono format....that delivers higher quality sound along with security. Researcher Steve Crandall says he hopes to overtake MP3...

"The quality is better than MP3, also there's an important feature that we've wrapped it in security so it's extremely difficult to copy it and give it to someone else. Some people might interpret that as a problem. What we've generally found is that musicians consider that a very important feature. They don't want their music spread around without their permission."

But the digital music does give indendent artists and labels a shot to be heard... (sound) The ATT Labs technology is also used in a commercial player called a2b. There are versions for Windows and the Mac you can download for free from digitalphono.com. The future...

"We're pushing beyond this. We're working on better than CD quality sound and multichannel sound."

ATT Labs' Steve Crandall.