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SanDisk Announces New Physical Format for Music

SanDisk describes slotMusic as high quality, DRM-free MP3s on microSD cards, clearly playing toward the fact that compared to a couple of years ago, there’s a huge amount of mobile phones in circulation with microSD slots not to mention media players.

slotMusic cards come with a small USB sleeve, enabling users to put any music they buy onto their computer as well as playing it on their phone or MP3 player, however SanDisk seems to think that everyone will dig the idea that you can walk into a shop and walk out listening to music on your phone. To extent we’re sure people will like that factor but we also think that people only really buy these things when they know they’re not going to be able to get to their computer to change the music on their phone or MP3 player. This is the kind of thing that would probably be a total hit with tourists on holiday or if they were available to buy in airports, but in the everyday world, not so much.

The slotMusic cards will have 1 GB of space which means plenty of room for entire albums with extra artwork or images from the artist as well as videos, interviews and other additional content. With all that storage, one can’t help but wish there were a lossless encode included in addition to the MP3s.

SanDisk has yet to announce a list of musicians available on slotMusic but it’ll be interesting to see who is willing to support the scheme. Many artists (most notably Radiohead, NIN and Oasis) have released material either exclusively online with no intention to pay for shelf space in bricks and mortar stores. We wonder if this will have any effect on artists tempted to take that route, or will we have less artists distributing online independent of a label.

  • aevm
    Why would anybody want to rescue slumping physical music sales??? If I can buy high-quality MP3 files with no DRM pollution I'm happy. Making and shipping a physical product is a waste of money and resources and won't even let me enjoy my purchase right away.

    LOL, if I want 500 tracks, and I buy one every day, I'll end up with 500 microSD cards. Just try to figure out which is which and where to store them... And how much would it cost? With Amazon, you can just pay $1/track, download it, put it on a DVD-RW. A single 4.7 disk can hold hundreds of tracks in MP3.

    SanDisk should focus on making SSDs that can compete with the Velociraptors on price/size/speed. If they do that, they'll drive Seagate and WD into bankruptcy and they'll make a ton of money.
  • ilovebarny
  • sandmanwn
    a complete and utter waste of resources. id rather they didn't and instead used these resources to bring down the price of ssd hard drives.
  • mtyermom
    Using mp3 on a 1GB card just doesn't make any sense to me. Why not use an uncompressed/lossless format and still have room for additional content? There would still be room for portable player specific tracks (ie: mp3s).
  • martel80
    I may download MP3s from online store so what's the point? They need to make it in a lossless format to be worth a purchase (but then there's the problem as not every player supports ALAC, FLAC or WAV). They could use the idea to sell something like 48kHz/24bit masters of the CD counterparts to make it more appealing.
  • koss64
    I think its a decent idea to go into a store and pick up a card that i can use right away, i like the tourist angle for it, something cheap and not too bulky to carry around as a peice of the place your visiting that gives you more than you bargined for.
  • WheelsOfConfusion
    Dammit, MP3? Why can't it be an open format like vorbis or FLAC? That way they wouldn't even face the possibility of paying licenses, and the music would sound better. They're touting this standard as DRM-free anyway so they don't have anything to lose. Also maybe then more portable hardware would support those formats (but to be honest, I don't see this slotMusic being taken seriously either). On their site, they claim that the USB sleeve makes this compatible with Win/Lin/Mac, but some Linux distros don't support MP3 out of the box for the licensing issues.

    Besides, 1GB for storage of MP3s? What are they going to sell, an artist's entire back catalogs? Music, videos, and photos? There's nothing innovative about any of that, and it's so vague. That doesn't sound like a new standard so much as a common consumer practice being made into a business practice.

    Let's be honest, this isn't a tactic to sell more music, this is a tactic to sell more -microSD cards-