Sandisk announces $15 SlotMusic albums, $20 player

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

San Jose (CA) – Sandisk today revealed more details about the upcoming SlotMusic, which appears to be an attempt to replace the traditional audio CD as a physical music storage format. Stored on 1 GB microSD cards without DRM, SlotMusic is an option for those who do not want to download their music, but purchase entire albums and play them in devices such as cellphones.

 

Sandisk today said that SlotMusic cards will be arriving at Wal-Mart and BestBuy stores within a few days. Albums will be available from 35 artists, according to the company, for a price of $14.99 each. The cards will come with a USB adapter, which will allow users to playback the content on PCs, audio/video devices with USB ports and audio-capability as well as cellphone that have a microSD slot.

The storage capacity of each card is 1 GB; not all of the space is occupied by the pre-loaded music and users are free to add content to the card, Sandisk said. SlotMusic cards do not contain DRM, but there was no explicit information whether users will be able to actually remove the music content from the card and store it on other devices such as a hard drive.

Sandisk will also be offering a dedicated SlotMusic player for $20 as well as artist-branded players for $35. We aren’t sure who would be interested in purchasing such a device, since microSD slots have been available in many cellphones for several years, USB ports are in virtually any computing and most portable devices. But perhaps there are still many people who refuse to join the MP3-player/iTunes train and have stuck to the CD player so far and may now want an easy transition without having to change their habits.  
 
Here is the SlotMusic lineup for Christmas:

• ABBA
• Chris Brown
• Coldplay
• Connie Talbot
• Daughtry
• Don’t Quit Fitness Bundle
• Elvis Presley
• Five Finger Death Punch
• Jimi Hendrix
• Jimmy Buffet
• Katy Perry
• Keane
• Kelly Clarkson
• Kiss
• Leona Lewis
• Lynyrd Skynyrd
• Metro Station
• MIA
• Nelly
• New Kids On the Block
• Ne-Yo
• Nickelback
• Pussycat Dolls
• Rihanna
• Rise Against
• Robin Thicke
• Saving Abel
• Shwayze
• Solange
• Sugarland
• Tim McGraw
• Toby Keith
• Usher
• Weezer
• Young Jeezy

Given iTunes’ dominance in the music market today, any new physical music format is met with doubt. The obvious disadvantages of SlotMusic are that the storage capacity of each device is very limited and that shoppers will have to buy an entire album whether they like the majority of songs or not. Also, the memory cards may be priced right in terms of hardware and content, but compared to the price of “traditional” digital downloads, which typically go for $9.99 per album and $0.99 or as low as $0.66 per song, an album price of $14.99 is expensive. Over time, you may be collecting lots of 1 GB memory cards with lots of storage space you have no use for.