Yes yes, we all know how much the CD has sucked lately. No one wants to buy it, sales are falling, piracy and iTunes are the ones to blame. If only people would go back to discmans instead of iPods. Or something to that effect.
No matter what, the major record labels are making what can only be described as a terrible decision. Since everyone is going digital, what are the labels thinking? A new and innovative physical media. Essentially, the 4 biggies are partnering with SanDisk to manufacture tiny memory cards (likely MicroSD) that contain an entire album in mp3 form. What will they call it? SlotMusic. Not as catchy as CD, but it may get some sort of response from consumers.
The Wall Street Journal, reporting this story, did make an interesting point:
The music is to be sold in the MP3 format, with no digital locks that prevent copying. An adapter is to be included allowing users to transfer their music to PCs via their USB slots. The albums are expected to cost about $15 and are likely to be stocked by retailers near CDs and portable devices such as MP3 players and mobile phones..
The fact that it is DRM-free is the best move the labels have made in a long, long time. At the least, this will allow those who do buy the album an easier way to transfer it to the portable media player of their choice. The only chance this thing has of succeeding is targeting older audiences, those individuals less inclined to download things online. It’s a small (and shrinking) market, but you may also be able to hit those few people who aren’t hooked up to the internet or at least not to broadband. It’s definitely a niche approach, and despite the fact that I’m 99% sure it’ll fail, it does mark a quasi-innovative move on the part of the big labels, so I want to give them a gold star for trying.