SanDisk, one of the largest supplier of flash-based products, plans to sell music from leading record companies on its microSD flash memory cards. The company hopes that its so-called slotMusic cards will not only allow it to increase sales of its flash, but will also add significant additional revenue stream, boosting the company’s sales and profitability. But will this happen?
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 with 320Kb/s bitrate, without passwords, downloading or digital-rights-management interfering with their personal use. SanDisk has signed contracts with top artists from EMI Music, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group, to sell their records on its slotMusic memory cards.
Initially SanDisk will offer music on 1GB memory cards. In addition to music records, slotMusic cards can hold songs, as well as liner notes, album art, videos, and other creative content that an artist may choose.
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.
“slotMusic offers consumers an immediate, tangible, and high quality alternative to CDs and digital delivery. 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,” believes Danielle Levitas, vice president of consumer, broadband and new media at IDC.
Although slotMusic has a number of indisputable advantages over CDs, not everything is that bright with slotMusic microSD cards. Firstly, flash cards are uneasy to keep and carry since they are very small and can get lost easily; secondly, microSD cards are not compatible with consumer electronics, thus, cannot by enjoyed on a Hi-Fi audio system; thirdly, traditional music stores may not be interested in selling something that may be considered as “non-standard” music carrier, as a consequence, availability of slotMusic will not be widespread. Despite of possible disadvantages, the idea of loading content only flash drives seems to be an interesting one.