Our lonely and half-hearted defence notwithstanding, the commentariat is unanimous: SanDisk’s “SlotMusic” — preloaded music on flash memory cards — is a terrible idea and the music labels are staffed with craven idiots. So we’re going to stop fighting the wisdom of crowds here, back away from the fray and save our energies for winnable battles.
In just a minute. First, we want to tell you how truly terrible “SlotMusic” could have been. What if:
- Instead of loading the cards the pre-loaded music in MP3 format, so you could move it wherever you wanted, the tunes were locked up with DRM?
- Instead of featuring music from popular artists who sell music, like Usher, the memory cards were preloaded with new music from people who haven’t had hits for decades, like the Rolling Stones?
- Instead of being priced somewhere between $7 and $15, the memory cards were sold for more than $30 — that is, at least 2x more than a conventional CD?
Unbelievable, right? That’s what we said, too — the first time we saw SanDisk’s attempt to launch this product, way back in 2005. Some press release excerpts:
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, SEPTEMBER 27, 2005 – SanDisk ® Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK) today made entertainment history by launching gruvi™, the first removable flash memory card of its type to be sold with premium music content. And SanDisk’s debut release in this new medium is none other than A Bigger Bang from EMI Music’s Virgin Records, the bestselling album from the legendary Rolling Stones..
The Rolling Stones’ A Bigger Bang, the band’s first studio album in eight years, has been unanimously hailed by critics and fans. The Rolling Stones’ A Bigger Bang tour launched in the U.S. in August. The gruvi music card includes the album along with bonus content that is offered exclusively in this unique format. A Bigger Bang is the first music release to use SanDisk’s new TrustedFlash ™ technology, which also was announced today at the CTIA show. TrustedFlash enables content providers to lock content to the card — using a rights management protocol that is on the card itself – but gives consumers the freedom to play the card, and thus the content they own, in a variety of supported devices. This is in contrast to closed, proprietary systems that restrict content to a single device. Apart from getting all of the tracks on the new Rolling Stones album, consumers also will be able to preview and purchase – directly from the card — other Rolling Stones music from the band’s back catalogue, through either a PC or a supported mobile phone. A Bigger Bang on the gruvi music card will have a suggested retail price of $39.95 at select retailers, where it is scheduled for release in early November.This was so awful that we promptly forgot about it, and apparently so did everyone else (Has anyone ever actually seen one? This ebay auction is the only evidence we have it actually made it to market). But the good/stubborn people at SanDisk wouldn’t let it go. Alas, our fellow pundits have declared the new version DOA, too. We look forward to seeing what SanDisk rolls out a couple years from now.
In the meantime, we’ve spent the morning thinking about Martin Landau in “Entourage”, for some reason.
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