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Diamond unveils Liquid Audio support for Rio

MP3 player to support second most popular downloadable digital music format

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Diamond Multimedia has unveiled software for its controversial Rio MP3 digital music player that adds support for Liquid Audio's Liquid Tracks format. The software, shown for the first time at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is the first result of a collaboration agreement announced by the two companies back in October 1998. Until now, Rio was limited to MP3 tracks downloaded across the Internet onto a PC and then piped across to the player. The addition of Liquid Tracks support will allow owners of the player to download music encoded in what is probably the next most popular format after MP3. The big difference between Liquid Tracks and MP3 is that for former includes mechanisms to support licensing music tracks to individuals. That ensures the artist and label get their cut of the sale and that the licensee can't copy the track for others to use. It's the lack of these features in MP3 that has had the music industry up in arms against both the format and systems, such as the Rio, that encourage its use. Liquid Tracks is one of the formats the music industry sponsored Standard Digital Music Inititiative (SDMI) is considering as the basis for a new, universal digital music format. ®

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