Sony dumps ATRAC as they disconnect Connect

“Acknowledging its proprietary audio technology was a marketplace flop, Sony Corp. is shuttering its Connect digital music store and will open its portable media players to other formats,” Matt Moore reports for The Associated Press.

“Sony said it would phase out operations of its struggling Connect online store, which sold songs in the company’s proprietary ATRAC format,” Moore reports.

“Sony spokeswman Linda Barger said the new Walkman players will no longer directly support ATRAC,” Moore reports.

“Sony Connect launched in 2004, but like other online music services, it has had a tough time competing against Apple Inc.’s iTunes Store, which is tied to the market-leading iPod portable player,” Moore reports.

MacDailyNews Note: In no way is Apple’s iTunes Store “tied” to Apple’s iPod. Apple’s iTunes Store can be used without using Apple’s iPod and vice versa. We won’t argue that they do “complement” and “enhance” each other at times, but they are certainly not “tied.” (Related: Enjoying Apple’s iTunes and iTunes Music Store without owning an iPod – May 11, 2005)

Moore continues, “Sony said that… new Walkman video players will ship with Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Media Player 11 to manage digital libraries [and the players will be able to] play the Windows Media Audio, MP3 and AAC audio formats.”

Full article here.

It must not cost very much to develop antiquated* music players that nobody wants, because Sony just keeps right on releasing new ones. Is anybody running that company?

We know the things are relatively small, but give the landfills a break, guys!

*And soon-to-be-even-more-antiquated as of next Wednesday.

(Note: We already did the “blood” thing for Sony’s Connect back in June. Please see related articles below.)


  1. @Zune

    I must appologize… you really must have missed that class on proprietary audio technology.

    I believe MDN is speaking about a hardware device which is locked to a specific software — designed solely for that company… here in this case it happens to be SONY and their ATRAC codec. LIKE, dude, who else was using that codec?

    Atrac… was no friend of mind.
    AND MDN is so so right again… the iPod is by no means dedicated to iTunes ONLY for customers to use it.


    I do have a couple of QUESTION however.
    Apples’ DRM is an AAC.
    And this AAC audio – DOES IT PLAY on any other device?

    Now that Apple is selling some DRM-Free music… which I believe are also AAC encoded music files – but maybe they are MP3s – I forget. Sorry – I skipped that lecture !!!!

    Can these Apples DRM-Free music files play on any other device?

    IF the answer is what I think it is… Apples DRM AAC music only plays on iPod… then OUCH.

    STILL that does not hold Apples iPod to only playing or locked into iTunes…. as it PLAYS mp3 that you rip from your CD purchases. But, then isn’t this the case for almost any digital music device out there? Plus, Just re-encode the freaking songs – it’s so so much fun – no?


    NO – I do not have an iPod. My daughter has a iPod Video… and she won’t let me Play with it… hahahahah but true.

    I do not like WMV or WMA cos they playback poorly on my home MACs, for most part due to the proprietary nature of the MP4 codec MS uses… instead of an open-source version.


  2. @poo

    That is obviously a fake Zune Tang. Doesn’t have half the zing as the real one. He’d never stoop to “Crapple”, his “MAC” is much more loathed.

    I disagree! This is the real ZT. “Going down faster than a senator in a mens room” is classic.

    The MAC hating ZT you endorse is the impostor!

    Hmmmm. He’s against MACs (Media Access Controllers, a.k.a. EtherNet cards.). ZT must still be using dial-up.

  3. jay: you need to distinguish between aac (the format apple uses, which is open) and fairplay (the drm they wrap around (some/most) songs sold on itunes, which isn’t open). any aac-compatible player can play an aac song, including aac songs sold on itunes if they’re itunes plus (drm-free, without fairplay). for instance the zune (of all things) can play aac. there’s really no excuse for any manufacturer to make a non-aac device these days – fewer licensing worries than mp3, better sound quality at similar bitrates, and less battery life used because of smarter decoding.

  4. I would imagine ZT is still on dial-up.

    The people who hate apple and it’s customer base as much as ZT does, usually have one common problem.

    Lack of expendable income sufficient enough to not have to buy wal-mart PCs with free AOL subscriptions.

    MS’s Potential = Wal-Marts Passion.

  5. “Do they still support Betamax too?”

    The crazy thing is that Beta is alive and well in an SP, SX and DigitalBeta format. This dominates the broadcast industry and at $60G a pop for a D-Beta machine, they are laughing! Now they’ve release BlueRay cameras for shooting High Def Broadcast again going after the pro market..


  6. “I used to love jammin’ to the ATRAC in my first car back in the 70s.”

    I gotta admit, I’ve made that connection between ATRAC and 8-Track as well.

    “Can these Apples DRM-Free music files play on any other device?”

    Yes. Apple’s AAC files will play on any music player that supports AAC. There aren’t many that do, granted, but they do exist. Sony’s “Network Walkman”, various Panasonic players, and I believe Microsoft’s Zune.

    Essentially, AAC could be considered “MP4” (versus “MP3”). It’s the next generation audio codec.

  7. Never did understand the ATRAC/MiniDisk. Even in it’s “heyday” it was crappy audio compared to CDs, had a DRM scheme (which was unheard of at the time), was no more convenient than a CD and no one supported it but Sony.

    Whoever was responsible for that fiasco ought to have been fired from Sony about a decade ago. (Right before they fired the guys who came up with the Super Audio CDs and the memory stick.)

  8. Notify Apple via their feedback page that you need Matte screen options in all Mac’s.

    Go to an art supply store and buy a can of dulling spray, or better yet, trade your 17″ MacBook Pro to me for my 17″ G4 Al Powerbook if you like matte screens so much. I think they suck.

  9. I liked Mini-dsc, and got a recorder ten years ago when CD-R blanks were very expensive. Pioneer did 60 minute blanks for about £10 each, and they were difficult to find in stores.
    The MD blanks were cheap and you could get 50 mono tracks on each one, instead of 20 on the CDs, a definite cost advantage.
    Got many thousands of tracks – taken from my 78s – on MDs.

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