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U2 Working With Apple on New Music Format That's Impossible to Pirate

U2 is planning a new "audiovisual interactive format" that will resist pirating — but is that even possible?
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Just after the big debut of U2's new album "Songs of Innocence" at last weeks' iPhone announcement, the band's frontman Bono told Time that they are working with Apple on "an audiovisual interactive format for music that can’t be pirated." The new format, he said, will emphasize the visual element of music, including lyrics and photography, and is aimed at big-screen consumption. Bono lamented the state of the music industry, saying it's harder than ever to make money from album sales, and rejected the popular notion these days that music should be either free or subscription-based. "I don't believe in free music," he told Time. "Music is a sacrament."

It's also usually a digital file that's easily copied, and while Bono did not elaborate on the method by which the new format would be rendered secure from piracy, such boasts often act as catnip for hackers. Very few, if any, digital rights management systems have wholly prevented piracy, and the better they are, the more hackers they attract. Expect to see the new format in about 18 months.



—Devin Coldewey