Categorized | Hardware

SanDisk Offers DRM Free – microSD Music Albums

There has been a lot of buzz about SanDisk and their plans to release DRM free music on their flash media cards. Dubbed “slotMusic”, these cards will fit into microSD slots on most popular portable devices including cell phones and existing MP3 players. SanDisk will sell the devices in stores like Best Buy and Walmart initially.

SanDisk is hoping to reduce the time from purchase to play by having you bypass the computer all together. No need to load up a memory card or device with music purchased on the Internet – all the music is already on the media. Just plug in and listen.

SanDisk wants “slotMusic” cards to be your alternative for CDs. They are offering DRM free, high quality 320Kbps MP3 files, which eliminate the need for ripping your CDs at high quality. Each card will come with a USB sleeve which will allow you to connect the device to you PC for transfer to your hard drive.

SanDisk says some goodies will also be included on the media cards. These include music videos and album artwork. No word yet on how much each “album” will cost, but it has been speculated that they will be comparable to CD prices.

A new music format? (more like a new music packaging format)

Many news sites are headlining their stories with wording that indicates that SanDisk is “introducing a new music format”. This is simply not the case. What SanDisk is doing, is packaging digital music in a new format for sale. MP3s have been in use for quite some time and SanDisk has chosen to use high quality MP3s with “slotMusic”.

Photo credit by lhl

microSD

Will SanDisk be successful with “slotMusic”?

There are a few points to consider when thinking about whether “slotMusic” will take off.

  • No downloads -don’t have to waste my bandwidth to get music.
  • No ripping – saves tons of time by not having to convert CDs to MP3s
  • High quality – 320 kbps should be enough for just about anyone
  • Device compatibility – there are thousands of devices that can immediately read the microSD format
  • Multi OS capable – Windows, Linux, and Mac
  • DRM free – play our music when we want where we want and on what we want
  • Forced to buy an entire album – can’t choose to just pay for a single song
  • Most phones (which is a large target for this format) have a short battery life when playing music non-stop
  • Not a lot of places to buy “slotMusic” – only Best Buy and Walmart to start. Although Walmart is the largest retailer in the world, I’m not sure that the tech savvy crowd is the Walmart crowd.

I think the price point for the devices might make or break this product. If indeed they value the music then they should price them at CD prices and leave the memory capacity as low as possible. Consider the microSD cards as just a way to deliver the media, and not like a re-usable/erasable memory card. You don’t want the value of the “slotMusic” to be the media, but instead want the music to be the value.

Further Info

See their press release at SanDisk.com.

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