Monday, September 22, 2008

New format alert: slotMusic

You've got to admire the major labels - faced with a decline in physical product sales, they conclude that the problem is not that people don't want physical product, it's just they want a slightly different shape of physical product.

The latest format, then, to answer this imagined hunger, is slotMusic. This is, effectively, a MicroSD card that someone has already recorded some music on for you. The labels are delighted, hailing "at last: a format that still needs to shipped round the planet, but working with fewer devices than the CD while being much, much, easier to lose."

The official website is excited:

Music, Retail and Tech Leaders to Offer "slotMusic™": High Quality, DRM-Free MP3 Music on microSD™ Cards.

These leaders have issued their launch press release only as a PDF - I'm assuming as a joke; choosing a clumsy, needs-intervention-and-plug-ins format for something that they could have just simply coded up to let people read directly in their browser must be a tongue-in-cheek metaphor for the format, right?

These things are expected to turn up - briefly - on the shelves of Best Buy and WalMart until the challenge of making a microsized product a comfortable browse and trying to persuade people to buy into what I think is the 19th new format since yesterday teatime (BlueRay Audio, anyone?) leads to a quick loss-cutting.

One thing in the defence of the industry: DRM MP3s. The lack of DRM is to be welcomed (gradually learning) but since they're delivering these tracks on a physical format, couldn't they have offered them in higher quality?


Spence said...

Holy crap, it's not April Fools day is it?

And there was me starting to replace all my CDs with their USB stick equivalents.... (OK, so just that Keane single then).

James said...

"the challenge of making a microsized product a comfortable browse"

Funny you should say that; I've lost count of the times I've had to wrap a MicroSD card up in a sheet of paper and tuck it into a wallet, just because I needed to transport it and didn't have anything to keep it in (USB sticks fit nicely in pockets, but SD cards are smaller than dust and vanish easily). If the SlotMusic people could find a way of making tiny SD cards a bit easier to store and browse, I might be persuaded to buy a few, just for the cases. A bit like how crack addicts used to buy Kitkats just for the foil.

Only, you know, with less crack.

No crack.

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