SanDisk Introduces SlotMusic

slotmusic microsd memory card for music

When the iPod came out along with its music store iTunes, it changed the way we bought and listened to music.  From buying CD’s or cassette tapes or vinyl records, we opted for the easily portable, reproduceable and easier-to-store-in-a-portable-music-player mp3.   That’s really what happened and nobody in the world is denying it. 

Now why then is the music industry partnering with a flask disk company to provide us another physical media storage?  SanDisk, maker of semiconductor storage devices such as flash drives and memory cards, along with the major record labels, is launching a new product they call "slotMusic".  The product is simple, instead of using a CD as the storage for the music, they use a 1GB microSD memory card.

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. [Press Release]

Sure the idea of storing music on memory cards is not anything new, but to sell it in record stores?  It sounds like a great innovative idea but inntroducing a new physical media storage just causes more problems for the consumer, like where are they going to play it?  According to SanDisk, slotMusic will be intended for mobile phones.  Sounds good, but is it viable?  Who in their right mind would buy dozens of microSD cards for 7 to 10 dollars a pop when they can easily get their music online for free, store and organize them all in a hard drive and take all the music they need on a PMP?

"slotMusic offers consumers an immediate, tangible, and high quality alternative to CDs and digital delivery," said Danielle Levitas, vice president, Consumer, Broadband & New Media, IDC. "This year, more than 1.2 billion mobile phones will ship globally, outstripping portable media players by nearly an order of magnitude – and this trend is accelerating."  [Press Release]

Fine, it may not all be that bad.  At least the music on slotMusic will be DRM-free and you get lots of new cards for use in other purposes when you decide to transfer the music.  Moreover, a physical tangible alternative to the CD does sound nice.

Generally, I think the idea is far fetched.  They may have the numbers or the feasibility studies, but portable media players like the iPod or Zune or Zen versus the slotMusic?  It wouldn’t be a surprise if the latter got clobbered.

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