Recently, the world's four largest music companies (EMI Music, SONY BMG, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group) partnered with SanDisk to create slotMusic, a new format for music delivery. slotMusic cards are essentially microSD cards loaded with 320kbps, DRM-free MP3s. In addition, the card may be loaded with "liner notes, album art, videos and other creative content that an artist may choose."
According to the press release:
It's the first time the major labels and retailers have unanimously embraced a new physical format in over 25 years. slotMusic makes today's hottest music available on interoperable microSD cards that let fans instantly plug and play albums into their microSD slot-enabled mobile phones, portable media players, computers, and an increasing number of car stereos.
As a person who primarily creates work for the web, this format is mildy appealing. Moreover, from a standpoint of conservation it seems this format would reduce the waste created from standard CD jewel cases and digipaks. However, the real test will be whether or not consumers feel a tiny microSD card feels worth the "suggested retail price of $14.99." Seeing as we'll already pay $9.99 for an album of 256kpbs variable-rate MP3s from Amazon, I'd say yes. Then again, do we really want a music collection consisting of hundreds of microSD cards?
Nevertheless, it's a interesting development in the music industry and I'm going to follow it with, admittedly, a little cynicism. You can find more details about slotMusic on its marketing site and the SanDisk sansa site.
As a side note: considering the money they probably paid for the marketing site, you'd think whomever built it would've sided against the component Flash video player. Weak!