Sandisk has come up with a new approach to how you buy music. It is to start selling MP3 players preloaded with hours worth of audio.
The Sandisk Slot Music players will come in a range of capacities, ranging from your favourite artist's latest album bought as a 1GB 'Creation' micro player with their branding all over the exterior, to compilations of musical themes for people who can't quite decide what they'd like to listen to. Alternatively, the music can be bought preloaded on to a SanDisk flash memory card.
In the case of the preloaded cards, these comprise music collections 'curated' by Billboard magazine and built around a specific musical genre, from hip hop and country music to rock. Sandisk says four major record labels have signed up to sell their artists' albums on Sandisk cards and players. Tracks are recorded at bitrates of between 250K and 320K and are offered without copyright protection. Consumers will find video clips and other artist-specific content on the Creation players and cards along with the music itself.
The preloaded cards and players are beginning to be sold in the US through Best Buy and Walmart priced between $13 and $15, with a UK launch expected in the next couple of months.
Sandisk has already signed up 52 artists to sell their music this way. These include Lady Ga Ga, Akon, ABBA, Chris Brown, Leona Lewis, Keane and Rihanna.