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MiniDisc is a magneto-optical disc developed by Sony Corp. It was announced in 1991 and made its international debut in 1992. MD Data is the first attempt at bringing regular data storage to MiniDisc in consumers hands. Since MiniDisc is a magneto-optical technology, much like a hard disk drive, it is perfect for data storage as well as it's intended purpose for audio. However, file fragmenting could be an issue possibly.
Sony's original plan for MD Data was to replace technology like the Zip drive. However, it was not to be, just like Sony's plans to eat into the market for CDs. In that case, Sony could not push the MiniDisc format to consumers as an audio standard partly because of the lack of new music albums on the MiniDisc format and the sheer lack of support from record companies and labels. Interestingly though, MiniDisc did enjoy some support and promotion from some artists signed to those companies, but it wasn't enough.
MD Data had many problems. Firstly, it could only offer 140MB of data storage, which would never have lasted against the blank CD-R format shortly afterwards. Also, to read and write audio MDs the hardware had to be in play mode, which denied computer access to the data. MD Data appeared in the briefly available MD still camera and an MD document scanner. Overall however, it was a failure. Sony came back in 2004 however, with Hi-MD.
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Here are some news items in the AfterDawn archives that relate to this item..
Sony to dump Connect music service - (August 31st, 2007)
Sony acknowledged that its proprietary ATRAC music format was a market flop by shutting down all its Connect music stores and making its devices compatible with other formats.
Sony kills off ATRAC and SonicStage with latest MP3 player - (April 28th, 2007)
The Sony B100 series of portable MP3 players killed off the ATRAC format.
Sony admits ATRAC was a mistake - (January 23rd, 2005)
Ken Kutaragi has stated that Sony has missed out on the sales of MP3 players and other gadgets by sticking to proprietary formats such as ATRAC.
Multiformat 128kbps public listening test - (May 13th, 2004)
The brief results of a listening test that pitted the most popular digital audio formats of the time against each other. ATRAC3, used with MiniDisc, was found to be second last.