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Music Store Wishlist

Roughly two months ago, we heard that Sony was closing its Connect online music store and rolling many of the staff into the PlayStation division. Sony has said that music and video store functionality are coming for the PS3, but details have been very scarce.

iTunes and mp3sparks provide quality services and Amazon’s upcoming service sounds great as well. I have no particular company loyalty when choosing a system like this, but it would be nice to see Sony one-up the existing players and offer consumers some unique features.

Here’s what I ultimately want.

Must Haves:

  • A non-proprietary file format. AAC is ideal (despite common misconception, this is not designed or owned by Apple). OGG is fine as well. Proprietary formats such as Sony ATRAC or Microsoft WMA are deal-breakers for me. I do not want proprietary issues restricting me if I ever want to move some of my music to a different device or software package.
  • DRM-free or very light DRM: watermarks are fine, but more restrictive systems are not. I’m a strong believer in IP rights and I never pirate music or games (mp3sparks is a real gray area: Is the consumer responsible for policing their choice of store?), but DRM is a complete usability killer for me as a legitimate user.

Bonus Features:

  • Higher Fidelity: Movies have always had DTS 5.1 which is way better than regular CD. PS3 games and Blu-Ray/HD-DVD movies provide even more with superior bit-rate encoding and lossless compression schemes. I’d like to get actual songs with this kind of quality. Hey, the mainstream music buyer is probably happy with AM radio quality music, but I’m willing to pay for better.
  • Multi-channel Support: Most music is fine in one channel. You don’t need spatial positioning when listening to an orchestra or a rock song. However, some music does some pretty cool effects with multi-channel mixes. I heard the NiN album “With Teeth” in a surround sound mix and was really impressed. Why can I only get that surround mix on a physical disc? I’d like to have the option of purchasing that with the convenience of an online store.

Does anyone else also want higher fidelity and multi-channel support? Is there anything that you would like in a music store that isn’t already offered? Speak up in the comments…

Quick + Minor update: Music Store has been announced, but details scarce. Thanks Sporty!