SD, the new CD? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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09-25-2008, 10:19 AM
SanDisk bringing music on microSD cards to market
By Chris Null

Buying music sans a physical backup (as in buying from iTunes) not your bag? Now you'll have an alternative to audio CDs. And no, I don't mean vinyl. SanDisk today is launching a brave new experiment in music sales: slotMusic, which puts audio tracks on a tiny microSD card and which will be sold, preloaded, at retail.

This isn't some podunk trial project: All four major music labels are onboard for the launch, as are Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

Why microSD? The format is being plugged as an alternative for users with music-capable mobile phones, many of which have microSD slots that go largely unused. A consumer can buy a card, pop it into his phone, and be immediately up and running, so there's no need to wait until you're back at your computer to purchase tracks online, and no need to rip a CD. (On the other hand, you will still have to actually physically purchase the music, but if you're out and about already...)

slotMusic will include DRM-free MP3 tracks, typically encoded at 320kbps, so users will get high fidelity music without having to worry about downgraded audio. Most slotMusic cards will be 1GB in capacity. Buyers will be free to back up the music to their hard drives at any time (each card will include a tiny USB adapter; an example—not slotMusic, but close enough—is pictured above), and of course they can overwrite a card later with other data when they're tired of listening to the music on it. Pricing will be dependent on retailers, but SanDisk tells me it will be competitive with CDs and "as expected."

Initially you can expect regular albums to be ported to the slotMusic format, but depending on its success, we might see labels making custom "mix cards" of popular tunes, which would seem to fit well with the grab-and-go consumer who's looking for something to listen to on his phone.

The million-dollar question, of course, is whether the market is big enough and interested enough for slotMusic. I'm a big fan of alternatives in the audio market, and slotMusic so far is hitting all the right notes—no DRM, high bitrate, ostensibly reasonable prices—but I wonder if consumers haven't moved past the "one piece of media, one album" mentality altogether. Also, swapping microSD cards on many phones can be a real pain (some have the card located underneath the battery, ugh), and the tiny cards will be incredibly easy to lose. No one will travel with more than one card in tow for fear of losing it along with his spare change. And even the cheapest MP3 player can crank out hundreds of songs instead of the mere dozen you'll get on a slotMusic card. If you meet a specific set of criteria—need music right away, have no MP3 player, and have a microSD slot on your phone—slotMusic will be a good solution for you. How many people that really comprises, I don't know.

09-25-2008, 10:49 AM
I'm looking at a cell phone (and service from Verizon) right now that has a slot for MircoSD; no crap DRM ( :dita: Lars), good bit rate and if the price is right, it sounds like a viable option for myself and anyone who wants to listen to music and get phone calls all from one little gadget.

09-25-2008, 03:24 PM
I could dig it - 320 ain't bad and its much better than the crappy 128K tracks sold by Itunes and everyone else. They sell that crappy bit rate at full wavefile prices and they wonder why people still cheat. a 128kbps track should be sold only at a substantial discount and higher bit rates should be offered along with the lower ones.

The Russian website had the perfect business model for selling digital music on-line. They sold music by the bit.

09-25-2008, 03:56 PM
Hi, I'm a lover of music. Could I have a full-resolution disc please? One that I can hold in my hand and don't feel like I'm waiting for the Sword of Damacles to drop when the next geeky-assed, twerpy-mother-effin' widget comes out that I just have to have...

...could I have that please?

God forbid we do anything to make less fractured this society already so rife with discord and uncivilised discourse. It's absolutely neessary that at any given time people have access to their tunes and if a few sacrifices like quality must be made, then so be it. Portable music is necessary.

Especially when driving. Or, on the phone.

**** the Decembrists.

09-25-2008, 08:46 PM
I was bemoaning the decay of society and railing against the dying of any cultural light earlier, though as it turns out I was just having a bad day.

Nonetheless, I doubt I'll be hopping onboard.

Jimmy B
09-25-2008, 10:17 PM
I won't buy into it, I am one those anal geeks that likes to read the liner notes.
Thats all, later JB

09-26-2008, 03:06 AM
I wouldn't even consider buying this unless it was lossless and considerably cheaper than CD. Actually I want better than CD quality. So we're going from SACD/DVD-A to mp3 and this is progress? :rolleyes:


09-26-2008, 11:35 AM
I agree: Unless the format offers decidedly superior sonic and more affordable advantage to the CD, I don't anticipate the format being anymore than a niche-filler for widget heads and gadget geeks.

I also reckon that people like the tangibility of CD's as well. (In my mind) I suppose that the lure of physically opening a CD (or who can remember the joy of a freshly opened LP?) is a thrill that smaller format numers will have to work to emulate.

09-26-2008, 11:50 AM
The Russian website had the perfect business model for selling digital music on-line. They sold music by the bit.

had ??? ( ;)

09-26-2008, 02:56 PM
had ( ??? ( ;)

I do realize that they've continued to exist, but their blocked from recieving any kind of payment from the US.

Back to the SD thing...I can download my own stuff to a microSD card as it is...if they make it worth my while, I'll buy it. But I'm with everybody else who says, "if it ain't lossless, it ain't the real thing". I will never pay full price for reduced bit rate.

10-04-2008, 04:43 AM
I don't mind the idea of putting music on SD cards. Sounds like a reasonable idea for in-car systems, if nothing else. But why does it have to be mp3? Why can't they just increase the card capacity and store the music uncompressed?