SanDisk Announces a New Physical Music Format

It's no secret that music sales comprised of physical media (i.e. CDs) are down in the face of huge competition from iTunes and other digital distribution channels.  At the same time, no one ever said the record labels would give up on physical sales easily.  Today SanDisk, along with the four major record labels (Warner Bros., EMI, Sony BMG and Universal Music Group) have announced a new format: slotMusic. slotMusic is essentially a microSD card with an album on it, and the partners plan to roll it out in time for the holiday season.

According to the format's
official site, Wal-Mart and Best Buy are already lined up to stock the cards.

With slotMusic, songs will be loaded onto what are known as microSD cards, the fingernail-size siblings of the larger and more popular SD card format. Slots for microSD cards can be found in scores of mobile phones, including those from Research In Motion, Nokia, Palm, Samsung, and Motorola. "There's a billion phones out there and a lot of them can play music and a lot of them have a microSD slot," says Daniel Schreiber, a SanDisk vice-president. "We think there's still a need for a tangible, physical product. People will appreciate walking out of the store playing music on their phones."

The cards will ship with a sleeve so they can be readily used with computers.  This makes a ton of sense as the i-devices (such as iPod) don't have microSD (or any SD) slots.  We would assume the slotMusic cards will be usable with other slots such as miniSD and SD, with an adapter, though it is not made clear on the official site.

Still, the big question, even for a format as small as this (fingernail-sized, for those who've never seen it) is: can you draw consumers to a new physical format in the age of the download?  And what will the pricing be?  According to the

NY Times, one executive said it will be in the $7 - 10 range, which would be a bargain if you look at the pricing for 1 GB microSD cards at, and add in the music.  You can always erase the cards and use them separately, after all.

And finally, how does this affect the apparent buyout interest in the company from others such as Toshiba and Samsung?  We may yet see, as the holiday season starts up.

Via:  Business Week
Tags:  music, Sandisk, CES, SAN, disk, Format, mat, RMA, and, K
shanewu 6 years ago

Hey, I'm all for another way to get DRM-free MP3s out there! At first, I was skeptical, but this could be cool. They are making some good choices upfront, which seems rare these days with music distro...from the web site:

"The MP3-based music tracks will be played back at up to 320 kilobytes per second (kbps), offering a high quality music experience.

What does slotMusic mean to Artists?

Musicians will find slotMusic cards offer a compelling new way to express themselves to their fans. With 1GB (gigabyte) of capacity, slotMusic cards can hold songs, as well as liner notes, album art, videos, and other creative content that an artist may choose. Consumers can also add their own content to a slotMusic card, creating a personal plug-and-play media library. "

3vi1 6 years ago

$7-10? I'll believe that when I see it. Glad to see it's DRM-free though!

bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

Cool Idea. It will never take off though.

Dave_HH 6 years ago

320k bit rate but it's still lossy... not bad though!

bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

[quote user="Dave_HH"]

320k bit rate but it's still lossy... not bad though!


Thats what a lot of my music is encoded in. I can't tell the difference with my tin ears.Stick out tongue


designerfx 6 years ago

wow, so lets make music more annoying?

Techdirt is pretty much dead on:

CDs are not worth 7-10$ though, not digital. Digital should be cheaper than physical, not identical.

Dave_HH 6 years ago

First, welcome designerfx. Good to have you with us. But in what way does this make music more annoying? All it does is add another medium for you to access it on. I don't see the issue with that. And ultimately if you don't like the concept, you can vote with your dollar and continue to download or use CDs.

mazuki 6 years ago

put it in a lossless format, as a CD is, and i'll pay 7 - 10 USD for it. but 320MP3, i'm guessing CBR at that? bogus.

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