IEEE Spectrum on Music Formats

Music Everywhere: It’s all about the algorithm—but which one will win? [via Slashdot]

Not since the days of the PC operating system wars in the 1980s, arguably, has a software issue held so much sway over an emerging category of consumer electronics. And this time, at least, technology will weigh fairly heavily as the marketplace sorts out winners and losers.

For the algorithms, the basic tradeoff is between sound quality and how much they can compress the music files. But there are other important considerations, including the extent to which the full-fidelity, uncompressed files can be re-created from the compressed files, how copy protection is implemented, and how secure the downloaded files are from unauthorized distribution.