SanDisk's slotMusic: microSD cards preloaded with music


SanDisk and the RIAA sure do hope y’all aren’t “finished” with physical media-based music playback. If you are, then this whole slotMusic venture will end up being a waste of everyone’s time.

SlotMusic, actually written slotMusic, is the name of Sandisk’s new line of music-filled microSD cards. The thinking behind slotMusic is that consumers, what with their music playing cellphones, still lack an easy way to load and listen to their favorite songs. So, you walk into a Best Buy or Wal-Mart (slotMusic will initially be sold there), grab the latest pop sensation-loaded slotMusic, then stick it in your phone and off you go.

Again, that’s the thinking. That the iPhone doesn’t accept microSD cards is one minor issue. That consumers are more comfortable with downloading music (from iTunes) and may have completely written off physical media is another.

It’s worth pointing out that the songs loaded onto slotMusic cards will be DRM-free MP3s. Specific bitrates and encoding methods? ::shoulder shrug::

And yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how this affects that whole Samsung-Sandisk talk.

UPDATE Some more info has trickled out, in the form of the official press release. The slotMusic cards weigh in at 1GB, and the MP3s are encoded at 320 kbps. All the big record labels are here, too. Sony BMG, EMI, Universal and Warner are all part of the scheme. Click through if you want to read the full press release. Maybe you’re bored?

It’s slotMusic Monday!

(Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, Milpitas, CA – September 22, 2008) – Leaders in music, retail and flash memory technology today announced they’re bringing consumers an innovative, new physical music format, dubbed “slotMusic™.” microSD™ cards will soon be made available with pre-loaded, high quality, DRM-free MP3 music of top artists from EMI Music, SONY BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. A selection of slotMusic cards will first be available at brick-and-mortar and online stores throughout the U.S., including Best Buy and Wal-Mart, with Europe to follow. A complete list of slotMusic albums, availability and pricing will be announced in time for the coming holiday season. SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), inventor of the ubiquitous microSD format, is leading the technology development behind slotMusic.

slotMusic cards enable consumers to instantly and easily enjoy music from their favorite artists without being dependent on a PC or internet connection. Users simply insert the slotMusic card into their microSD-enabled mobile phone or MP3 player to hear the music – without passwords, downloading or digital-rights-management interfering with their personal use.

“slotMusic offers consumers an immediate, tangible, and high quality alternative to CDs and digital delivery,” said Danielle Levitas, vice president, Consumer, Broadband & New Media, IDC. “This year, more than 1.2 billion mobile phones will ship globally, outstripping portable media players by nearly an order of magnitude – and this trend is accelerating.”

slotMusic cards will be packaged with a tiny USB sleeve ensuring seamless interoperability with all computers – Windows, Linux and Mac. The upshot is that slotMusic will enjoy an unparalleled, pre-existing installed base at launch: hundreds of millions of multimedia-phones, virtually any computer with a USB connector and a growing number of in-car sound systems will be able to play slotMusic cards.

The MP3-based music tracks will be played back at up to 320 kilobytes per second (kbps), offering a high quality music experience for the MP3 format.

Musicians will find slotMusic cards offer a compelling new way to express themselves to their fans. With 1GB1 (gigabyte) of capacity, slotMusic cards can hold songs, as well as liner notes, album art, videos, and other creative content that an artist may choose. Consumers can also add their own content to a slotMusic card, creating a personal plug-and-play media library.