Good find Warp2Search! Looks like Sony wants to satisfy consumers who are not able to play any of their CD in their computers by using a system called "Key2audio", from a company called eSquare4U.
When you purchase a CD, it will ship with a 9 digit number which will allow the CD owner to download specific tracks from the CD from Esquare4u.com's web site. Formats include Real Media streaming or Windows Media (wmv) for local storage.
Here is a breakdown of the service being offered :-
- ESQUARE4U.com is a music portal created by Sony DADC Austria. It enables customers, who bought a key2audio CD, additionally to get their music tracks online. This service is provided, because key2audio CDs do not support playback on computer drives, due to reasons of copy control.
- The 9 digit code, on the inside of the CD-jewel-case (e.g. A4R-7TH-B9C), can only be used ONCE to download the tracks, so don't give it out or pass it to other users.
- Because of the digital rights management systems in place, you can only play these downloaded songs on the PC with which you downloaded them to. Support for other devices has bot been released at this time.
- File size for each download will be approx 1mb for 4 minutes of music, on a 56k modem this will be around 2min 26sec, with times for Cable obviously much faster. (No information is available at this time as to the quality of these DRM locked media.)
- Streaming can be performed from any computer at any time if you have the key2audio key code for the CD. The advantage of streaming is, that you do not have to wait until a file is completely downloaded. With streaming the music will play quite immediatly. In addition to that, the audio quality of the streaming content will match itself with the performance of your internet connection.