The MiniDisc format was very clever, but it wasn't around long before the iPod and
Internet music started to ascend to global domination. The data reduction format had a few
issues at launch but improved quickly and is actually a very clever and effective solution
-- better than mp3 in many ways. Unfortunately, it turned out that several core elements
of the ATRAC codec were infringing patents held by Dolby, so Sony ended up having to pay
Dolby royalties and licensing fees on every machine and pre-recorded disc... and so that
added to the internet / ipod competition made them turn their attentions elsewhere.
But for backing tracks it's still a pretty handy solution. A linear solid-state
recorder would be a better bet if you were buying something today, but if you have a
working machine it makes sense to make use of it.
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound