Patent 5,636,276 describes a process for digitally distributing 'music' - it specifically uses that word. Does this mean that the patent applies exclusively to the distribution of music? Would it not apply to video? Or what if the video has music in it? Or what about audio books - those aren't music, but they are audio 'tracks'. Really, it's just a digital package of information, and it could be books, videos, music, pictures, software - anything. How would a court interpret this word?
The core thing the specification and claims talk about is a "music information object". It is not just a bunch of arbitrary bits in that it is specified to contain music and other things related to that music like rights management code and maybe the score of the music. The specification actually has a short section where it essentially defines what the term music information means.
There are two times in the life of the claims when they are interpreted - during examination and during an infringement case. If an examiner found something just like it but for video or digitized paintings or some other creative work with a "rights management" issue, the examiner could have said "the prior art is for digitized painting and from that it would be obvious to do the same thing with music." Also, during exmination the claims are looked at in their broadest reasonable interpretation so arguing that bits were bits could be part of an obviousness rejection argument. This application got past that stage and was granted.
After grant the claims are looked at differently. The patent owner is unlikely to be able to enforce this against something that is not a "music information object". If the inventor thought he could get a patent on any digital representation of a creative work, he should have claimed that. Too late now. Now, is a video with music a music information obect? That might hinge on the prosecution history. If during prosecution there was a rejection based on something that was not particularly music related and the applicant got past it by saying "music, by its nature, is really different from everything else, this invention is only about music" then they are doubly stuck with that interpretation when they go to enforce it.