Music 2.0: Engineers unveil MT9 format

Korean computer engineers are introducing a new digital music format that has a six-channel audio equalizer and separate controls on the sound volume for each musical instrument, such as guitar, drum, base and voice. The new format, which has a file extension format of MT9 and a commercial title of "Music 2.0", is poised to replace the popular MP3 file format as the de-facto standard of the digital music source, its inventors say.

The MT9 technology was selected as a candidate item for the new digital music standard at the last regular meeting of Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG), the international body of the digital music and video industry.

Ham says that the music industry should change its attitude to the market as music is becoming a digital service, rather than a physical product. Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are both interested in equipping their mobile phones with an MT9 player and their first commercial products are likely to debut early next year, he said.

Unlike other digital formats exclusively used by big companies, Audizen (the venture company behind the development) allows users to copy the MT9 files, making it a more attractive format. "It's like having a CD or cassette tape. Once you buy it, you can lend it to your friends. We don't want to be too fussy about DRM (digital right management),'' said Ham Seung-chul, chief of Audizen.

View: Korea Times

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22 Comments

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That would cause some music players producers to be killed due to the HUGE cost of this new technology to be added to players.

When we'll see that in public (Both player and MT9 tracks)?

That would cause some music players producers to be killed due to the HUGE cost of this new technology to be added to players.

When we'll see that in public (Both player and MT9 tracks)?

I tried to find more information, but I'm unable to read Korean, and Audizen doesn't have an English version of their site. It looks like you can purchase Music 2.0 albums now, but I wasn't able to find a download for the player or any demo files.
It's going to be very difficult to usurp MP3 when 99% of the people are happy with it, and I don't see this format adding anything but gimmicky instrument channels. Really, how often are you going to fiddle with mixing the channels? If we're going to move to something beyond MP3, it will more likely be MP3 Pro due to better compression (or fidelity, if you want to look at it from that standpoint) and backwards compatibility with MP3 players. The downside is that the licensing for the technology is pricey. I think MP3Pro is all but forgotten, now, so maybe Thomson will lower the price in an attempt to push it.

pretty neat that you can have a little piece of the studio inside your mp3 player and you can listen to your music interactively, but unless there was something wrong with the song in the first place you wouldnt even want to touch any of the sliders controlling the volume of seperate channels or whatnot...
personally as an electronic music fan, i would like to get my hands on some music recorded in this format, if only to make my own songs out of them , e.g. take the drum channel or whatever as a sample and loop it to create some rhythm

Won't make it if you ask me. There is only very limited need for seperate channel mixing in portable music players.
It may be introduced in a few players but eventually they will keep support for mp3 and people will stick to that. why? Because there's nothing wring with mp3 for the average user.

I highly doubt this will take off if only for the reason that most artists, and labels more so, don't want you to be able to remix the song you are listening to.

Sounds like a really cool format, I like the idea of having all the different instruments on a different channel, but there's one thing I'm unsure about - it says it's 6-channel, but does that refer to the actual sound channels output (i.e. does that mean it supports 5.1 audio?) or just the separate volume for the instruments? If it's the latter, it's not a bad idea (although almost pointless), but if it's the former (6 channels AND separate instruments) then I'm all for it!
My only other concern is with how good the compression is (in terms of both quality and file size), with 6 distinct channels and possibly separate audio for each instrument (if a song has just 4 distinct instruments - drums, guitar, keyboard and singing - that means 24 separate audio tracks!), filesizes could be enormous - I estimate a single song could be anywhere around 60Mb, probably more. Not a real problem for today's huge hard drives, but MP3 players would quickly fill up and to really take off, they'd ideally be distributed via a physical medium - maybe this is the DVD-Audio we should have had?

This type of format will only lead to one thing, mass piracy. I thought that's what the media industry was attempting to squash? Sounds a hell of a lot like a conspiracy to me.

(asoldier said @ #8)
This type of format will only lead to one thing, mass piracy. I thought that's what the media industry was attempting to squash? Sounds a hell of a lot like a conspiracy to me.

What, and MP3 hasn't already achieved this?

is poised to replace the popular MP3 file format as the de-facto standard of the digital music source, its inventors say.

That's exactly what they said when AAC/MP4 was out.

Ample disk space has made FLAC popular too, yet we see MP3s as the de-facto standard.

I won't get too excited about this format untill all (major) PMPs and H/W players would support it.

I think it sounds great. I'm normally one to purchase the actual CDs, but if they can give me a digital download format and I can control the specific levels of each instrument, that might just make me forget about CDs altogether.

i never understood why mp3 was so popular
there are way better formats

if this isnt a loss-less format, then it has no future

"It's like having a CD or cassette tape. Once you buy it, you can lend it to your friends. We don't want to be too fussy about DRM (digital right management),''

That's format suicide right there...

What exactly am I getting that I won't get in the already-available multi channel audio formats?

"It's like having a CD or cassette tape. Once you buy it, you can lend it to your friends.''

Erm, isn't it already doable? Unprotected music, for example?

(soumyasch said @ #3.1)
What exactly am I getting that I won't get in the already-available multi channel audio formats?

Each instrument is a separate track. If you want to hear just the drums, you mute everything else, etc. It sounds extremely cool.

Erm, isn't it already doable? Unprotected music, for example?

Not if we're talking about DRM-restricted music that you purchase online. MT9 sounds like a format that we wouldn't be able to encode music in ourselves (or at least it would be pointless to do so), so we would have to purchase it online, and this format wants to minimize any restrictions that have been traditionally placed on digital music downloads.

Interesting idea. The problem I see is that tracks would have to re-mastered specifically for this format and so any old music would have to be re-purchased. You can't just take a CD and rip it into this format since a CD doesn't have separate tracks for each instrument.

(MrA said @ #1)
Interesting idea. The problem I see is that tracks would have to re-mastered specifically for this format and so any old music would have to be re-purchased. You can't just take a CD and rip it into this format since a CD doesn't have separate tracks for each instrument.

I agree that this is an interesting idea. There are so many albums I would like to listen to instrumentally because the singer is crap, is screaming, makes no sense or just gets in the way of what would otherwise be intricate and beautiful compositions. If this format takes off I can see a lot of lead vocal tracks being muted by musicians, or by fans of American Idol type shows so the listener can sing over their favorite songs.

I wonder how hard it would be re-engineer all the tracks to this format? I remember there was quite a market for the reformatting of Stereo sound in films into 5.1 Surround once that format became mainstream several years ago.