When is an MP3 not an MP3?

The BBC has a story about Digital Music Downloading. This is a forthcoming service where if you like a song you hear on digital radio, you’ll be able to buy it immediately. The BBC says this:

The service, called Digital Music Downloading, allows listeners to buy any song they hear, with MP3 copies being sent to their phone and computer.

That “MP3” sounded unlikely to me. If record companies are going to be selling tracks using this method then you can bet that it won’t be an MP3, it’ll almost certainly be some nasty proprietary format that is DRMed to the hilt. The original press release for the announcement doesn’t mention anything about MP3 files, but does say:

DMD broadcasts encoded and encrypted music files, alongside a radio station’s audio stream

Which sounds far more likely.

So is “MP3” now being used to mean any digital music file? The distinction between different digital musc formats is important to me. And I’ll never knowingly buy anything that has any kind of DRM. But maybe I’m in the minority. Or maybe the recording industry is just trying to blur the distinctions.

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