Thursday, March 17, 2005


We were just idly flicking about the web when we came upon a name we'd not heard of for a while: Dataplay. Now, back in 2002, we were raising an eyebrow at Universal's decision to invest in Dataplay; they were part of a fifty million dollar lifeline to the new format - looks like a tiny CD; erm, works like a tiny CD - in the hope that it would catch on and we'd all be queuing up at Virgin to buy our record collections all over again. Clearly, it didn't work, although there are a few actual releases on Dataplay; but just a handful - and all from that period when a few dreamers really believed that the future of portable music lay in very limited storage discs sliding into separate players.

Dataplay hasn't quite died - as with the Minidisc, it's struggling on; but in its most recent incarnation as a kind of portable storage device for computers. Still, though, hard to see what it offers that a pendrive, say, or even an iPod shuffle doesn't. What is interesting, though, is that in this new incarnation, it's not only given up dreams of being a music medium, but also shorn itself of all proprietary and DRM attachments. Not that this will do much to help its prospects.

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