Imagine if you downloaded an MP3 (or uncompressed WAV) from a site … which had no DRM (Digital Rights Management) in it whatsoever … yet when someone else listened to it (whether on your gear, or by copying the file) it just didn’t sound as good.
Not possible you say? … well it is! …. by using persomalised binaural renderings of surround tunes. That means that someone measures your ears, and uses those measurements to mixdown a surround tune to stereo. When you listen to that stereo mixdown, you hear what you would have heard if the tune was played back over a 5.1 system. When someone else listens to that tune, it doesn’t quite sound right … the ‘surround sound’-ness of the tune is somewhat lost … they cant tell whether a sound is coming from the front or behind.
Mark Waldrep of AIX records recently posted a report on the Sursound list about a demonstration of a very accurate (personalised) stereo mixdown of a 5.1 recording. Ofcourse, accessing such a mixdown would require that one has a set of personal ear measurements.
Clearly, the challenge here is providing a mechanism for consumers to obtain personal ear measurements. If that challenge can be met … then there’s a huge opportunity to generate audio files with no DRM, but whose value is lost when consumed by others.
Now, clearly, I’ve got my ‘business hat’ on when I say all this. I’ve spent the last month projecting figures on various business models for Ambisonia …. and this kind of scenario is a huge opportunity. Its an opportunity not because it has a kind of ‘natural’ DRM-effect built into it …but rather because it offers an iPod-compatible augmented personal listening experience… which is not experienced by others on the same physical digital file.
Such a model fits very well with Ambisonia. Imagine this … upload your personal ear measurements … pay $5/month and get all of Ambisonia’s content in personalised surround stereo mixdown! … the only challenge is … who’s got their own personal ear measurements?(!)