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Sony kills off Connect online music store, ATRAC format

Sony ConnectSony's introducing a new line of Walkman media players with support for video playback. While this is a first for the company, we're much more excited about a corollary to that story: Sony is killing off its Connect music store and along with it, the proprietary ATRAC music format.

In a nutshell, ATRAC files sound about as good as any other compressed digital audio files. But unlike MP3, OGG, and WMA files, you can pretty much only listen to ATRAC files on Sony devices. That's because not only does ATRAC use DRM, but most manufacturers just don't support the standard.

Sony's switching from ATRAC to WMA in its new players, and phasing out the Connect Music Service starting next year.

The company will be giving customers "the best possible guidance on how to successfully transfer your music library to an MP3 or Windows Media-compatible format." It's not quite clear whether that means Sony will be providing conversion tools or just instructions. Updates will be available on the Connect website.

Oh yeah, and they recommend using up any account credit or promotional vouchers you've got before March of 2008. In other words, don't expect to get a cash refund if you don't use them by the time the store closes.

[via Engadget]

Tags: atrac, connect, drm, mp3, sony, wma