Digital Home Thoughts

Digital Home Thoughts - News & Reviews for the Digital Home

Register in our forums so you're ready for our next giveaway contest...

Zune Thoughts

Loading feed...

Apple Thoughts

Loading feed...

Laptop Thoughts

Loading feed...

Go Back   Thoughts Media Forums > DIGITAL HOME THOUGHTS > Digital Home News

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-23-2008, 05:00 AM
Jason Dunn
Executive Editor
Jason Dunn's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 29,160
Default Music Publishers Preparing to Launch New Physical Music Format: slotMusic

"For most of recorded music's life, delivery was tied to a physical medium of some sort. Physical formats included the vinyl record, cassette tape and the CD many of us still use today. With the advent of the digital age and digital music, the physical medium for music is a dying breed. The lack of interest in physical media for music has led to sharp declines in profits for music publishers. Most every music publisher sells digital tracks today, but the profit margins on digital music are much slimmer than what music companies see on CDs and other physical mediums."

This is one of the very rare posts that belong on all four Thoughts Media sites, but it's applicable to everyone because it involves music. Looking at the companies involved (Universal, Sony BMG, Warner, EMI) it's easy to see that this is a major initiative. The question is, will it succeed? I think it has a very slim chance of success if they execute the launch flawlessly, and hit a few major issues properly: first, price. If this format is any more expensive than CDs are at retail, it will fail. They also have to add value to the format - pictures and videos are a nice way to do that. If I could buy a slotMusic album of a favourite artist and get their last six music videos included, that would create value for me. And if they encode the MP3s at 320 kbps, higher than the major online music stores, that also creates some value - although only for the people that actually know what the term "bit rate" actually means.

The hurdles that this format has to overcome are many, however: the convenience and speed of online music purchasing is tough to beat, but that's not always true depending on where you live. To date, there is still no DRM-free online music store in Canada for instance, which is why I still tend to get the majority of my music via CDs. Since I imagine this will be launched in the USA first though, they have a tough uphill battle getting people to wait to purchase an album - we're the "We Want It Now" generation, the Internet generation, and we're not known for being patient. There's also the "Green" aspect - why buy something on plastic, certain to be wrapped in much more packaging than it needs to be, if you can get basically the same thing in a purely digital format?

What do you think? Will this succeed, or will it be the next MiniDisc?

Want to contact me personally? Use this. Want to read my personal blog? Check it out. Want to follow me on Twitter? Here you go.
Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2008, 05:25 AM
Rocco Augusto
Editor Emeritus
Rocco Augusto's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,432

While it sounds cool, and from what I read the price point seems solid ($7.99-$9.99 per album,) unfortunately I think this will go the way of Blu-Ray and MiniDiscs. Sure Blue-Ray isn't dead yet, but no one is rushing out to buy it. If it wasn't for the PS3 I doubt that many people would even own a Blue-Ray player.

Digital distrubution is the way of the future. It is quicker and more cost effective than physical distrubution and I don't have to leave the house to get what I want. Instant gratification!

While I completely understand the music industries need to try something new that they can DRM, this is just a 'tiny' step backward in the wrong direction (yes, that was a pun). Also, when the heck was the last time you saw a Zune or a iPod with a microSD card slot? When was the last time you saw a computer with a microSD slot? Usually you have to connect the microSD card to a full size SD card adapter, are these going to be included with the album? If they are, why not just use SD cards to begin with? You figure the technology for smaller sized SD cards has to be cheaper than microSD cards of the same storage compacity.

There are so many other ways this is wrong, the first being the size of microSD cards. Lets say you're going on a adventure or road trip with a few friends. Do they really expect you to walk around with a pocketful of microSD cards each containing a different album? That kind of defeats the whole purpose of a storage card when it comes to music - store lots of albums on one super tiny card. Also, how in the world do they expect us to tell which album is which!? Are they going to supply a magnifying glass with each album?!

I get the impression that the music industry has removed themselves so far away from their consumers and technology in general that they really have no idea what the heck they are doing. It's like its the bottom of the 9th in a Tee Ball game with bases loaded and no outs, the music industry is ahead 10 to 1 after years of being the laughing stock of the game - thanks to training from Amazon and other non-DRM MP3 download services - and then the music industry still manages to lose the game by pulling out some weird soccer moves! Get with the program music industry! People were almost starting to like you again and then you do stupid stuff like this! Digital downloads should be an easy home run for the music industry and should be where all of their attention is focused! More non-DRM'd music, less unneeded gimmicks. We DO NOT need this! The last thing anyone needs is the whole Blue-Ray disaster all over again!

And if the music industry is making such small profits off of digital downloads that they have to try and do something stupid like this, wouldn't you think it was time to change your business model to be in check with the future we live in? Sure I can understand your confusion. There are no flying cars out and about and you can't fly to work in your briefcase, but don't be fooled, the future is here. It is about time to start acting like it music industry!

I'm literally baffeled.
Follow me on Twitter - @therocco

Last edited by Rocco Augusto; 09-23-2008 at 05:32 AM..
Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2008, 05:45 AM
Lee Yuan Sheng
Contributing Editor
Lee Yuan Sheng's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,503

It's certainly a step backward. Like what Rocco has said, do they even know what they're doing? We want an easy (and worldwide please, no more silly internation demarcations) way to get content, but they keep on throwing up barriers after barriers...
Baka. Soku. Zan. - The justice behind the dysORDer.
Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2008, 10:00 AM
Larry L
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 20
Default All your answers are here

Just type slotmusic in google, and get all of your questions answered.

Here is a link to the answers!

It's just a 1GB microSD
Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2008, 12:12 PM
martin_ayton's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 459

Can Sony BMG install rootkits via microSD cards?
Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2008, 01:20 PM
Underwater Mike
Underwater Mike's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 444

MP3 is a relatively old technology. Rather than 320kbps, I'd prefer to see a lossless format. No, I can't hear the difference between 320 and lossless (my equipment isn't that good), but it's about time the music industry starts delivering more value for the buck. I agree that videos would be a nice touch, but those ought to be added to an improved core product instead of being thrown on to mask outdated features in the current format.
Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2008, 01:26 PM
Adam Krebs
Contributing Editor
Adam Krebs's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 519

slotMusic is the answer to a problem that doesn't exist. Just like Blu-Ray, there isn't enough consumer dissatisfaction with the CD/DVD format that we need a push to a newer format. I call this dead in the water, just because nobody wants to have one more thing to carry around with them. Isn't that why we switched to digital in the first place?

Also, when the heck was the last time you saw a Zune or a iPod with a microSD card slot?
I was wondering the same thing, until I visited the website and saw the bottom of the page.

Last edited by Adam Krebs; 09-23-2008 at 01:29 PM..
Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2008, 01:37 PM
Dyvim's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 676

I vote for the next miniDisc.

Rocco brought up a lot of valid points. I'm disappointed that it's a step backwards in terms of quality from CD. It made sense (to many people) to rush out and re-buy your favorite albums on CD to replace aging cassettes and vinyl records, but I personally see no advantage to this format over CD. I hate fiddling with microSD cards as it is (and my current phone doesn't even has a slot nor does my laptop), but their one advantage is being able to load them up with a ton of albums. That's what the digital music revolution has been all about for me: being able to have your entire music collection (or at least a generous subset of it) in your pocket at once. My DAPs are my own personal jukebox. Going back to carrying around single albums is so 1990's.

Almost 20 years ago (ack!) I had to pack very light (2 suitcases) for a year abroad and I decided I could only bring 12 cassette tapes with me. It was awfully tough picking what albums I could bring with me- I agonized about it all summer long. Today I can carry my entire music collection in my pocket (although not yet in a tiny flash-based player but that is coming my friends), and there's no reason to go backwards.
64 GB iPad 2 WiFi, Apple TV 2, 32 GB iPhone 4
Early 2011 MacBook Pro 13" (dual boot with Windows 7), Early 2009 Mac Mini
Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2008, 01:52 PM
Felix Torres
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,887

Conceptually, its not all that bad; a retail packaging of pre-ripped music, DRM-free. Not a replacement for online services but a supplement. Ten years ago, even 5 years ago, it would have set the world on fire. Now?
Uh, it might sell some. But I'm thinking not much.
Not because of pricing or quality but rather usability.

One major issue:
Why MicroSD rather than full SD?
Cell-phones have Micro slots rather than the full ones.
Unfortunately, the majority of phones *hide* the MicroSD slot inside the case, often under the battery.
As pointed out, the folks behind this don't appear to get out much, do they?
Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2008, 03:13 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 94

Dead on arrival. Whats next, are we going to see a 100 slot bank mini-SD reader (USB) equivalent to a CD Changer? I'm sure Sony will try that.

This makes no sense...even for mobile phones. The whole idea behind mobile is connectivity. In the near future I fairly certain most of us will simply access our libraries from Live Mesh, Windows Home Server or other storage devices/services on the cloud.

Zune (and others) are superior to this approach because it doesn't require a trip to the retail store. In addition, online services are supplementing music in ways that go beyond just getting music in digital form. This is a trend that will accelerate and I just don't see how physical media will compete with that.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 07:38 PM.