slot music

the listenerd on the Slot Music plan:

this nearly universally maligned plan is to sell albums not as CDs or MP3s, but on SD memory cards. The idea may well not be a good one at all, however, the attitude and authority with which so many people claim to know the music business and what’s good for it is appalling and depressing.


Selling physical music media in a cell-friendly format is a no-brainer. It’s plainly a good idea. This isn’t like DAT or Minidisc, where a new format had to be accepted, because so many cell phones already have SD slots. It’s not like selling audio files in a new type of encoding (like WMA, AAC, or FLAC). It’s just making media available in a convenient form factor for listeners who are already using their phones for music.

Does anybody have a simpler and more widespread approach to loading music directly onto cells, one that will work at the checkout counter at any convenience store? Bluetooth? Wifi? Over the air? Nope. The buyers don’t keep the card, they throw it away (or put it away for backup) once they make a copy. It’s just like delivering software on a floppy.

What’s up with the dumb negativity of internet opinion? Everybody rags on everything the recording industry does, and the less they know the harder they rag. Selling music as files without DRM on physical media designed for cell phones is creative and rad, and if Apple or Google had done the exact same thing the peanut gallery would be loving it.

Ok, maybe this idea won’t set the world on fire. I’ll buy that. But so what? It’s a fine business decision with a plausible chance of success.

7 thoughts on “slot music

  1. I agree with you Lucas. The model of content-filled blank media is going to do much better than people think. As the cost of 1-2GB SD cards moves to zero, they’re best used for this sort of purpose. They’re solid as collectibles. Bands can give them away at shows. can make stickers for them. Trading card games can emerge. :) Lots of positives here, lots of room for innovation.

  2. The reality, I have come to believe, is that the people who “know” about the consumer preferences of the “rest of us” don’t really know that much anymore. In this context, those of us who like songs like them in an accessible format, without worry about the “traditions” the would be “taste evaluators” want to impose.

    In this time of general upheaval, all these ways of looking at music are merely more stegosaurus bones, being buried.

  3. Good points. Except if you already buy CDs, why not continue? It’s not that hard to copy songs from a CD to a memory card, and your media format (your library) stays consistent. I am not sure you will have a lot of people shifting formats for immediacy or to save on 10 minutes of labor. Then again, you do get the memory card, but how many people will wipe that out to use it for pictures of the kids?

    So, it seems like we are talking about the rare, non-CD buyers that are interested in purchasing music in a physical form? Or, memory card buyers that opt to get the one with music over the one without music, but how many memory cards does the average person need a year?

  4. I do think people will spend money to avoid 10 minutes of labor. No doubt in my mind. The question is whether SD cards actually save time.

    Also, there are many people who don’t think of CDs as synonomous with music — teens and tweens in cell-centric cultures.

    It seems to me that the key insight here is that being able to load music onto cells at the checkout counter is a practical business opportunity. Maybe SD cards can do it, maybe not. The important thing is that people have their cell or ipod on hand, many will be using their cell as a primary music device, and they already have their wallets out.

  5. I love the idea of using Micro SD cards as a music distribution format. I WILL INDEED move the music onto my computer or player and then re use the SD cards. I have already started doing this with my many audio books and huge mix collections of my own order and design. I don’t like the throwaway mentality.. let’s get our music on reusable cards from now on! bring it.

  6. I also agree with your approach on slot music Lucas, for my phone the chord to plug it into my comp is about 35$…if slot music can compete with prices like that for just a few years it would be a good transition format for music. But face it, once faster dls for the avg user come about music hardware will be gone without the extras a physical product has but then again why can’t a itune come with videos, pics, and interviews in the dl too? Overall cel phones are central to slotmusic success and people spend 400-500$ easy on one without regret.

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