A new physical format dubbed slotMusic which utilizes pre-loaded SanDisk microSD cards is being introduced by EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner Music. The cards will first be available in the U.S. at retailers including Best Buy and Wal-Mart with Europe to follow. Titles, availability and pricing which is expected to be comparable to CDs, will be announced prior to the holiday buying season.
While today's announcement focused on the majors, a SanDisk spokesperson confirmed that the format is available to indie labels and that several are also planning holiday launches. Filled with 320 KPS mp3's, the cards come bundled with a USB sleeve insuring campatibilty with millions of cell phones, computers and other portable devices. With a 1GB capacity, slotMusic cards can also hold liner notes, album art, videos, and other content.
With consumers migrating to downloads delivered via the net and over the air, it is unlcear that they will favor any new physical format. But compatibility with mobile phones, as well as, the capacity to deliver additonal content offers real potential.