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MusicDNA puts the Web in your music

A new audio format that will allow your music to give you updates has been unveiled. MusicDNA includes music, artwork and the promise of more -- even after you've downloaded

Audio experts have pushed play on a rival to MP3, which will allow you to receive updates from your favourite artists as you listen to their tunes. MusicDNA will include artwork and other extras in downloaded music, and can continue to update you with news, blog posts and more.

MP3 pioneers Dagfinn Bach and Karlheinz Brandenburg put the new format on the music centre to see who'd bogle, at music biz beano Midem. When you download and open a MusicDNA file, you'll get artwork, lyrics and other associated content. What makes this more interesting than other similar schemes is that after downloading, the file will continue to bring you updated content, such as gig info, blog posts and other updates, should you choose to receive them.

It's not clear whether the format will package albums or individual songs. Rival formats emphasise the long-playing platters, to steer listeners back towards the album format instead of cherry-picking individual tracks.

Only smaller labels are on board, including dance and hip-hop label Tommy Boy and Britain's own Beggars Group, which encompasses 4AD, Rough Trade and XL. Last year, major labels Sony, Warner, Universal and EMI were reported to have put their store in CMX, a format designed to package online albums. But CMX is yet to arrive, and was comprehensively beaten to the punch by Apple's iTunes LP.

Apple is said to have rejected overtures from the CMX camp, instead launching iTunes LP in September in version 9 of the program. iTunes LP -- initially codenamed Cocktail -- creates a page within iTunes for each album offering the feature. Therein lies the problem with new, competing formats: like it or not, Apple owns the online music market because it dominates the hardware market. iPhone and iPod users are locked into the format Jobs' mob prefers.

We're excited about the prospect of dynamic content coming down our music pipes, and we just hope this particular tune doesn't get drowned out in a record-label format war. Tell us in the comments what you'd like to see bundled with your music.