The company says that the new service has been named “Connect” and will offer “a large catalogue of more than 300,000 songs, including albums and singlesfrom both major and independent record labels.”
There may be more audio format wars ahead, however. Sony says that audio tracks on the new service will be available in the ATRAC3 format, originally implemented in the company’s own MiniDisc and portable digital players. As a result, Connect songs will not be compatible with Apple iPods, downloading exclusively to “a wide range of Sony portable devices,” including the Hi-MD Walkman, Net MD Walkman, Network Walkman, and ATRAC CD Walkman. Sony claims that there are now more than two million portable Sony devices in Europe that will be compatible with the new service.
According to Sony, the Connect service will work with its SonicStage 2.0 music management software employing OpenMG use-restriction technology. Connect will also support the latest version of Sony’s enhanced ATRAC codec, ATRAC3plus which allows four compression bit rates from 48 to 256kbps.
Read more at Stereophile Magazine