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Sony admits ATRAC was a mistake

Written by Jari Ketola @ 23 Jan 2005 2:28 User comments (12)

Sony admits ATRAC was a mistake President of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) 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. ATRAC (Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding) is a psychoacoustic audio coding and compression system used exclusively by Sony in, for example, MiniDisc devices and Sony Connect online music store.
According to Kutaragi he and other Sony employees have been frustrated with the company's reluctance to release products that support the more popular MP3 format, such as the Apple iPod. The reason for the reluctance was mostly because Sony, which is also a major player in the music and movie industry, has had concerns about content rights.

The tables are slowly turning at Sony, and Kutaragi sees that new devices, such as the PlayStation Portable (PSP) will help Sony to reach levels of success it enjoyed in the past with Walkman and other innovative products.

Sony is boosting production to one million a month this spring to keep up with demand for the PSP. The device has sold over 800,000 units in Japan since going on sale December 12th. US and European launches are set for this spring.

Source: Forbes

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12 user comments

123.1.2005 14:44

About damn time. It was starting to get rediculous. I think they should use the ATRAC format like Apple uses the AAC format... sparingly.

223.1.2005 15:53

yeah when i saw that crap on the package i thought 'what the fuck would i want that for?" then i saw the price tag, and quickly ran in the other direction....

323.1.2005 16:45

I agree, I would never want a MiniDisc player when mp3 players are so cheap.

423.1.2005 22:36

Another case were a large corporation makes something not because it should or that its great for the consumer but because they want to have something they can have exclusive rights (and profits) over if it hits big. It's also another case were doing so turns out to be a stupid mistake as a company finally realizes and admits it when their shareholders say, "show me the money" and they can't.

524.1.2005 04:49

-ATRAC format was the main reason why I didn't purchase a Sony portable Player. I am happy that this came and bit you in the Ass!!!! -Greed is a hell of a thing.

624.1.2005 09:20

Well I guess I'm the only one defending Sony here. First off, I don't think ATRAC is THAT bad. I was using Sony minidisc portable players and recorders YEARS before portable mp3 players became popular. So I don't see why Sony should be blamed for using ATRAC on their minidiscs. They did blunder, however, by trying to incorporate their ATRAC format into the portable devices, instead of going with mp3. I remember I bought one from Sony a few years ago, and was very disappointed that I had to convert all my mp3s to ATRAC in order to play. But all in all, my personal belief is that Sony is an EXCELLENT company, making some of the best electronic devices on the market today, and just because they don't sell very many mp3s players is no reason to have that much anamocity against them.

724.1.2005 12:17

I have been using Sony products before minidisc went to USB recording/transfer process. I still use the longer preferred method via home stereoand the USB Sonic Stage v2.3, I sometimes object to the process of tranferring MP3's to ATRAC; but, I have become accustomed to the process. Hopefully, Sony will not abandoned the minidisc format; but, enhance its ability.

825.1.2005 17:34

I'm not necessarily saying that it's bad for everybody, people just have their preferences and their own opinions. I just used my portable CD player before mp3 players became more popular. If you have to convert, I'd just as well keep what I was used to, and since most people had very limited CD players (some still do), it was easier for me. But I was very happy when they started having MP3-CD players.

925.1.2005 19:20

i have a question about minidisks, when exactly did they come out?? in the movie "last action hero" with arnold sch..... (lol) he has a minidisk player in his car. hm. i had a minidisk player. it lasted approx. 4 days. after that it wouldnt burn anything. i quickly got my money back, and payed 100 dollars more and got a 20 gig rca lyra... hey, thinkin about investin in a new hdd mp3 player. whats cheap? im lookin for somthing that has about 5 gigs and is not made by apple :).

1025.1.2005 19:48

according to Sony's website (who invented MD), they finished developing it in 1991. It did not get popular until, I'd say maybe 96 or 97. Back then I saw many DJs using them, cause they were easy to record mixes, and were much better than tapes.

1125.1.2005 20:50

Ken Kutaragi stated that Sony has been in splinter groups for a while and that he and others have been upset that the audio department refused to us MP3. I don't mind atrac for their music store but give us other options. Now i can finally buy a couple of their mp3 players (flash and harddrive). The US CEO also stated that Sony is no longer cool in japan and europe but still is in the US. The Truth from the head of a giant corporation? Hell has frozen over.

1226.1.2005 19:28

everyone likes ipod for some screwed up reason, i wouldnt buy an ipod if it were 5 dollars. i dont want CRapple making any money off of me

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