Evolving the CD

There has been quite a lot of talk recently about the evolution of the CD as format. Two recent but separate developments caught my eye: first the concept of a CD / DVD hybrid format and secondly SunCommís Media Max 3 technology.

The latter is really positive step forward: it permits consumers to burn up to three copies of their CD and forward copies onto their friends via email, who will then be able to listen to that track for a limited number of plays. This is the sort of intelligent DRM which could harness existing file-sharing and sampling activity to drive music sales.

The first concept also offers the prospect of harnessing new media consumption activity, albeit in a different way. DVDs and computer games have become the entertainment media of choice for youth and for many music has become relegated to a second tier, often used as the backdrop for consuming more interactive content. A DVD / CD hybrid could allow labels to move the CD away from being a purely lean back format into a (at least partial) lean forward format.

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