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Music Labels to Launch Digital Album Format: CMX



Genius. Absolutely genius. That’s what I would call the new album-selling plan from the major music labels… if I was a complete idiot. Or maybe I’m over-reacting. I don’t know. What do you make of this new CMX format they’re planning?

““Ours will be a file that you click on, it opens and it would have a totally brand-new look, with a launch page and all the different options. When you click on it you’re not just going to get the ten tracks, you’re going to get the artwork, the video and mobile products.”

That’s the word out of Times Online in the UK (via Gizmodo). Apparently it’s supposed to combat Apple’s Cocktail system that may or may not debut in September and have something or nothing to do with their mythic tablet. I commend the labels for wanting to be competitive, but does this sound like something anyone wants?

Sure, I like purchasing albums online and getting video, audio and liner notes, but having them in separate files is pretty convenient. Bundling those files behind an album-specific launch page with links to those items does not appeal to me. This package sounds exactly like a DVD movie to me with its splash screen and menus, which itself is a format on the way out. Applying that concept to music sounds like way too little, way too late.

Admittedly, I don’t appreciate album art and lyrics as much as I did in my youth, but I’m pretty sure kids today don’t need a special launch page to download lyrics and photos of Jonas Brothers.

Oh, and apparently U2 has signed on to this. A few years ago they were promoting the iPod. Recently they showed up in BlackBerry commercials. Now they’ll be first onboard with CMX. Look for them to sell Zunes next year.



  1. Virtuous

    08/11/2009 at 2:50 pm

    CMX will fail big time. Instead of addressing genuine market demand the music industry wants consumers to buy CMX albums just so they can make more money.

  2. Fritz Liess

    08/11/2009 at 3:21 pm

    This is an attempt by record companies to use technology to maintain financial control of recording artists and the distribution of music.

    Currently, any recording artist can create digital music files and include a 600 x 600 pixel image as cover art. The cost of producing the product is low and does not use proprietary technology.

    Both this proposed technology and Apple’s Cocktail will require recording artists to work with the major labels in order to use the technology. This strategy will fail because new and independent recording artists will not use this technology. It will be used by established artist like U2 who may still sell traditional commercial albums, but are a dying breed.

    I believe that we will see interactive albums in the near future. However, this is something that will be driven by the recording artists, not the record labels.

    They will use Flash animation and other affordable applications to create albums that can be explored and mixed by the consumer — not just DVD-style menus.

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