Monday, September 22, 2008

Music to be Sold on MicroSD Cards

SanDisk just announced that music will be sold preloaded on MicroSD cards in time for the holidays. It is an interesting idea. CD sales have been falling and switching formats may make it easier on the consumer. Instead of using Disk players (not that you see many of those these days) or being forced to load the music on their computer, most customers will be able to plug them into their phones. The MicroSD cards are also much smaller and lighter then CDs making storage and transport easier.

There are downsides to this idea. The smaller the medium is the easier it is to loose. Labeling will probobly present some difficulty as well. With significantly less surface area then a CD, it is not immediately clear how people will be able to label what songs are in which MicroSD. Imagine the frustration associated with needing to insert all your MicroSD music mediums to find the one song you really want to play. A problem such as that is not likely to be solved by the MicroSD holder which is slated to come out at the same time as the MicroSD's with music on them will be sold.

Of course, all this assumes that people are looking for a physical storage medium at all. That is to say, why would people want to carry around handfuls of these MicroSD cards when they can load their entire music collection onto an MP3 player. It also assumes that customers want to buy packets or bundles of songs instead of individual ones which has been the trend.

When you combine the problems with the competition of downloadable content (legal and illegal alike), it does not look promising for this new push by the music industry. This is especially true as more and more people are able to download music right to their phones.

To see the potential success of this technology we will have to wait for the holiday sales receipts, but I would not be counting on this as my savior if I was a music industry executive.

More information can be found at

"Leaders in music, retail and flash memory technology today announced they’re bringing consumers an innovative, new physical music format, dubbed “slotMusic™.” microSD™ cards will soon be made available with pre-loaded, high quality, DRM-free MP3 music of top artists from EMI Music, SONY BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. A selection of slotMusic cards will first be available at brick-and-mortar and online stores throughout the U.S., including Best Buy and Wal-Mart, with Europe to follow. A complete list of slotMusic albums, availability and pricing will be announced in time for the coming holiday season. SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), inventor of the ubiquitous microSD format, is leading the technology development behind slotMusic.

slotMusic cards enable consumers to instantly and easily enjoy music from their favorite artists without being dependent on a PC or internet connection. Users simply insert the slotMusic card into their microSD-enabled mobile phone or MP3 player to hear the music – without passwords, downloading or digital-rights-management interfering with their personal use.

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