USB Flash drives will soon appear in record stores in a bid by major music labels to build up sales of physical media in the post-CD era. IronKey secure USB Flash drive and token Yes, but where are the sleeve notes? Universal told The Times this week that by the end of this month it will release USB singles holding several …
I won't, the kids might
It doesn't appeal to me, but then I'm not the target audience (being 35 years old).
As today's teenagers buy mobile ring tones that are shorter, sound worse and cost more than the original song, they very well might buy all these USB sticks.
Doesn't sound good for the environment, though. A big pile of USB sticks for landfill in the next few years?
The good thing about CDs is that you can go buy one, shove it in your portable CD player, and listen to it straight away... with a USB stick you need a computer, and if you've got a computer handy then why not just download the music?
At risk of stating the obvious
I'd happily buy music on USB provided:
- it's encoded using a lossless, portable, non-proprietary format (read .WAV or .FLAC), and
- price is no higher than CD, and
- *NO DRM*
Right now I'm guessing the labels will manage to score 0 / 3...
...for the labels! (At least, in their own minds.)
Although the article doesn't say, I think it's safe to assume that the data on the disk is DRM'd to the hilt. Thus, singles on these sticks are going to be *inferior* to the old CDs. Watch the labels move everything to DRM'd online- and USB-based sales.
That way they finally close the "rip from CD" loophole, which they so spectacularly failed to do with CD-centric DRM.
And of course, no-one will ever break DRM on downloads...
(All in all, it's a dumb idea that I don't see solving anything.)
1: Are the tracks DRMed?
2: USB sticks are not error-proof and the memory can quickly break down (a typical USB Pendrive is expected to last around 10,000 read/write operations).
Still, not a bad idea.
What a waste!
...environmentally speaking. How un-green is this! I know CDs aren't exactly enironmentally friendly when disposed of, but USB connectors? Will there be some kind of recycling scheme for these devices, so you can dispose of them responsibly once you've decided it's full of crap? One hopes it can be like the old cassette albums and singles, with a USB version of putting sticky tape over the recording tab holes! That's the style, Music Industry - give everyone anything except what they really want!
Having just moved to Spain, I picked up a new stereo system (CD, tape, radio) and it has a USB feature.
No explanation of what that meant on the box.
I was hoping it acted as USB speakers, but no. It plays flash drives.
Actually, it's quite handy. I can listen to my files on my PC, then shove them on a memory stick and listen without worrying about (snore) boot times. Then I can take them to a net caff or to work and listen there. All without the time taken to burn a CD or the compatibility worries of CDRW
BUT -- most stereos don't have this feature, and I wouldn't buy a new one just to use it, particularly given that it seems to be a bonus feature for low-end (£30ish) systems. The CD is ubiquitous and you get to choose your system.
Furthermore, why pay more to get your music on a key if the first thing you do is to put it on another key as a compilation...?
What's the point?
At the moment, you buy a CD to avoid DRM and to get it in the highest quality possible. What's the point of going into a shop and buying some low-fi MP3s badly encoded on a read-only (I presume) USB stick that's not going to fit nicely into a CD rack, only to get the same shabby quality you can download from iTunes?!
They tried replacing CDs with the minidisc - and that flopped. What makes them think this is going to fare any better?
so the record companies want me to pay more for the same shite, using a delivery method they've already proved more than willing to exploit?
count me out of this one!
That's just a waste of resources unless you can buy many tracks on a stick at once and even then, it's still pointless. CDs not being "cool" anymore is not a valid reason. The only right way to do this would be to allow people to download onto their existing sticks but I highly doubt the record labels would do that.
The possibility is interesting, although really only in it's potential as a means of getting cheap USB sticks with my music/other content.
To tell the truth I've only purchased CDs the last few years if I couldn't get the album or songs as a download or if I could get the CD very cheaply.
Also, personally, the releases listed here aren't really helping sell me on this since I have no real interest in any of these 'artists' or their 'music', with the possible exception of Pink Floyd.
So, if this goes ahead in the mainstream I have to buy all new equipment if i want to play my music away from my pc? no thanks. I'm aware people had to do this because of the jump from vinyl to cassette to CD, but the next format then came about because it could improve on the last. What advantage, besides durability, does USB have over CD? Not improved sound thats for sure as the bit rate, while can be higher than CD's, won't be picked up by most people. Certainly not me.
My only hope is this goes the way of the minidisk.
how does one
Store these with your CD collectiosn? Cd's have artistic front covers, the name etc. A USB stick has to be stored flat to see who is on it..
How can you tell who is on what without loading it up first. Or are now talking much larger USB flash pens as the ones I have will need small print to read title, the list of songs and the name of the band.
Or do you copy it off and then bin it.
What about malware and DRM????
A platform with limited compaitbility, reads and most likely craqppy sound quality (with the obligatory DRM).
Sign me up.
Are they insane?
"it’ll charge around £5 (€7/$10) per stick – around £2 more than CD singles currently cost"
I don't know what the margins are to the record company, but that's a 60% price hike for the consumer, and they are aiming this at the age group that is most unwilling to pay anything for music.
Where's the laughing my arse off icon? (I've settled for the "totally brainless" one, as you can see.)
"Is USB the best way of improving physical music sales? Would you buy music on USB instead of downloading it? "
Err... no. Someone's clearly missing the point here. There's a bit of a market for CDs because there's still a fair amount of CD players hanging around. Are they also going to provide USB Stick players? Of course, I'm sure they've thought about the whole thing thoroughly and come up with some sort of standard between all of the labels that would allow such a player... No? Oh. Well... I'm sure that all those 'hip kids', without an internet connection (of which there must still be 5 or 6 I guess) to actually go and download the same content for a fraction of the price (or free, depending on their moral compass), will be rushing out to shoplift USB sticks from the shelves of HMV after hearing this news.
They have obviously gone the extra mile and cost and employed a consultant from the Ministry of Bloody Stupid Ideas rather than the Department of the Inanely Stupid Ideas.
Agreed, a waste
We have USB drives that can store hundreds, if not thousands of songs, and the best thing the record companies can come up for them? Store a couple of songs...
USB is the perfect format for entire back catalogs, not singles.
This is stupid
I already have enough USB sticks. I don't want to have to buy a new one each time I buy music. I'd much rather just download music.
Besides, the main attraction of physical media such as CD, DVD or vinyl is that it has some sort of permanence. You don't have the risk of accidentally erasing your music (unless you physically damage the disc).
Also, the article doesn't mention whether these USB stick releases will be DRMed. Sony rootkit anyone?
I feel slightly confused by this move...........
So instead of the major record mafias allowing DRM free catalogs for online providers, we, as consumers, have to venture out of our comfortable abode to the record store and buy a USB stick. That will probably be DRM locked down. Which will only be able to be played in Windows Media Player after installing 3rd party software that will compromise my computer for a hacker to gain access.
What's next? Are we going to buy USB stick Towers to hold our collection?
How many USB sticks do I need?
I might buy one out of curiosity, but by the time you've got 10 USB sticks this would look bloody stupid. And if there is only one or two songs per USB stick? Do they seriously expect me to keep my music collection in a box of USB sticks? Have they even tried iTunes or any modern piece of music organisation software?
Or in short. No, I do not think this is a good idea.
I would be delighted if.....
The USB keys hold the DRM free wav versions of the music they're selling.
Otherwise, why would you pay more for something in a format that will be useless in a few years which is also worse quality than a CD version.
At least with the original unencumbered versions you could copy them to you're hard disk for use in the future.
I suppose the upside is they wont take up as much space as a CD.
ha... hahaha... hahahahahahahaha... hahahahahaha...
Well, it's finally happened has it? Consumers get to choose the end of reasonable quality music (in the form of CD) and replace it with DRM-ridden dross. What next, albums released in MIDI? Still, with the trash that is pop music I don't suppose it matters.
Personally, I'll stick with artists who release in proper formats and don't use the RIAA to mug children.
Might I be the first to say, "WTF?!" How is going to solve anything? Beside the fact that the digital generation is not particularly interested in physical media (hence the title "digital"), this is a horrible idea: 1) Charging more for something with a smaller physical footprint; 2) CD's are arguably easier to store in mass quantities (spindels, shelves, books); 3) identification - unless The Man comes up with some ingenious (highly doubtful) way to ID the stick as to what's on it, I'm not going to know... I'm gonna have to spend the completely unnecessary time to plug it into a USB port and open the drive, that's in NO WAY easier; and 4) Re-usability -- will the sticks be read-only or erasable and reusable? Though, either way, purchasers will still have a metric f*ckton of USB drives just sitting around -- I don't use the two I have as it is now.
Good job, Major Music Corp, way to come up with another absurdly horrendous idea. Learn to read, the signs blantantly say you're washed up, defeated... just die already.
USB Loyalty Cards
See now, this would possibly make sense, in a way.
Either buy a CD at normal price, or get a lossless version on your USB stick for discounted. Maybe offer incentives, such as tracks for free/discounted, or maybe extra multimedia content for using the stick. You could maybe pop into your local HMV, pop your stick into the specially designed Music Distribution Node, and get your tracks instantly on your stick. Or even a mini-MP3 player with USB connection free with your first purchase?
Would save plastic now surely? No need to launch each title on a seperate stick. Thus saving the world :D
They STILL don't get it.
The music industry are so far up their own backsides it's no wonder they talk s**t.
They STILL don't get it. It's not just electronic formats we want - we can get digital content from a fecking CD for pete's sake. We want to be able to sit at our computers, laptops, wifi enabled MP3 Plalyers or whatever and download the content we want at a fair price. "Fair" should reflect the cost of production and distribution, but should NOT reflect the rip-off surcharge that the music industry have been getting away with for decades.
Sticking the content on a flash drive doesn't make it eaiser to buy, or fairer. It's easier and fairer we want.
Sticking it on a flash driver doesn't make it simpler. It's simple we want.
Get your heads out of your pants, music industry, and start listening to the people who actually pay for your products.
the decline of the high street music store is inevitable
With more and more audio visual devices supporting USB, and memory prices dropping its only a matter of time before USB Multimedia replaces CDs and DVDs.
With CDs, I would expect the continued reduction in sales on the high street. USB sticks could be bad for the stores in the long run as the high cost might drive further people to buy online. Expect gimmicks such as CDs with embedded USBconnectors to try and keep the experience fresh.
DVDs should be next to drop the Disc as memory chip prices keep dropping though these are still not ready for mass online consumption due to download sizes. Streaming rather than downloads might be the way forward here and the online movie market will explode as more TVs become wifi enabled.
The high street music shop alas has to reinvent itself to stay competitive with the convenience of online - or they risk fading into the backgruond and existing as Kiosks at the back of woolworths. Perhaps one way to keep the punters engaged might be to a live music scene hosted out of the music stores.
If it was cheaper maybe...
I can understand when CDs first came out there was a premium since it was a new technology, but USB sticks are NOT new and are dirt cheap so there's no way in hell people are going to fork over more for them.
Plus it's not like you can plug a usb stick into your home/car stereo yet so you're gonna have to burn it to a cd or port it over to an mp3 player anyway.
Maybe they should try something new if they want to increase sales, like charging what the ONE song is really worth at release, say $2. I mean, that's still too much, but at least REASONABLE.
I thought the limiting factor on flash memory was write operations, not read. I would have thought you'd be mainly reading from these USB singles, not writing to.
Even so though, is 10,000 not enough? Who really listens to a CD 10,000 times before ripping it or getting bored of it...
What a waste...
Why a USB drive when an SD card or similar would surely be cheaper to produce/transport/etc. (and USB->SD adaptors are available for less than £5).
Although I seem to remember they've tried distributing music on SD cards before with predictable levels of success (ie. none). Why would a USB drive fair any better?
Dear Media Companies,
WE'VE STOPPED BUYING YOUR REGURGITATED AND REFORMED SHIT. WE DON'T CARE IF IT'S ON CD, DIGITAL-DRM, MEMORY STICK, OR INSERTED INTO OUR EARS THROUGH A DAMN HYPODERMIC NEEDLE. IT'S NOT NEW, IT'S NOT GOOD, AND IT'S NOT WORTH THE MEDIA IT'S SUPPLIED ON.
ONCE ENOUGH OF THE TABLOID GENERATION PICK UP ON THIS, YOU WILL FALL. IT CAN'T COME SOON ENOUGH.
Me, as nobody else seems to care.
RE: Store these with your CD collectiosn?
Knowing the industry they'll package them in DVD style boxes. These take about 3 times as much space as CDs, but as they don't want to stock much in their huge shops that'll be good for them.
As for DRM and Malware, I expect so on both counts.
The only possible (though doubtful) plus on this is that you get a free USB stick with the music. I bet they're read only though.
Music industry still wants to sell you a media
instead of realize that now there is no need of media; it's enough to download the music/film to your computer. But they can't admit that, everybody who's between the artist and the public would not get a penny.
well, butter my arse.
that's utterly craptastic, kids.
Time to disable autorun on USB media detected then.
"physical music sales". Why do people do this to our language?
Still, it's not as bad as the ubiquitous "copyright theft" - the whole reason for copyright laws is that the offence *isn't* covered by theft.
to see so many negative opinions. i thought it would be quite handy to pick up a usb and just drag the content to my harddrive instead of waiting for a itunes or whatever to churn through the cd.
its small, it fits in my pocket.
and video clips are interesting.
i honestly think there is probably 200% more chance that i'll buy one than a cd.
assuming that drm isnt prohibitive (or the work around is a background-task) then it makes life a little bit simpler.
my music system is by my computer anyway and i constant play music through my headphone socket on my laptop to the amp and speakers.
im not saying its great idea until i see what the drm is, but its certainly interesting and i have long since stopped buying cds years ago. this at least might make do an impulse buy as its little and hopefully more convinient.
Hahahahahaha. Put something into my PC that could contain an executable placed there by a record company? You have to be kidding.
For the first 10 years after CDs came out, I bought loads. From then on I used WinMX and now simply torrent everything. I figure I paid the record companies plenty in those first 10 years, in fact I probably need to torrent a stack more albums before I feel the amount of music I own is worth the money I spent on CDs back then.
The only reason that I buy CD's (of music that I have downloaded and have decided that I really like, and will play more than once) is because As well as their being a CD player in my car, I have a high end sound system in my living room and want to listen to music "properly" in a lossless format... on a CD, that fits in my CD player.
Whats the point in having a premium audio system, premium speakers and even speaker cable that costs more than your average all in one hifi from Curys/Comet if you are they going to try and run a PC/mp3 streamer though it so that you can play some 128k DRM'd mp3 files through it?
Thats the only thing that keeps music sales alive in my opinion, the fact that there are people that either dont want the hassles of having to deal with mp3's OR that they apreciate sound quality and know that CD offers the best audio quality at the moment
USB in-car grooviness
My H&B car stereo has USB and SD-RAM slots in it. Best £80 I ever spent. Something tells me that they mightn't have paid any licensing fees for the mp3 codecs though - they don't seem to make them any more.
That's neither here nor there though. Record companies can go stick their DRM-infested USB sticks up their A&Rs.
By the way, get your free, unshackled ambient dub and trip-hop electronica mp3s at http://www.universalconstructors.com :-)
If I want to listen to music in the car I put a CD in the player, be it a bought or a burned one, and im off. How can I do this with a USB drive? I seriously doubt the labels will leave it non-copy protected so I wont be able to transfer the music to CD - and if I did, wouldn't defy the whole point of the exercise?
God These Guys are Asshats
CD sales still far exceed online sales, in part because real music junkies are willing to pay the extra for the cover art and album notes. Obviously there are other reasons too, but album art means a lot to many people. Seeing as how CD's are the only thing the labels have going for them right now, it seems stupid to eliminate the CD's.
Now, onto more practical matters...landfills full of USB memory devices is a really stupid idea. Once the DRM is hacked these things will go right into the bin. Clogging up the water table with terribly toxic chemicals and killing penguins by the score. Record labels are moosecocks, they treat their customers like shit, now they're going to treat the planet like shit. Way to go guys.
So, just to recap .....
Where can I play my old, un-hip cd's? Oh yes, in my hi-fi, my portable cd player, my dvd player, the car, my portable radio/cd player, my computer, my portable dvd player, and of course, I can rip them to my mp3 player!
Now, where can I play the USB Styx, Hmmmmmmm, errrrr, Ahhh, the computer, errrmmm, my laptop, mmmmm, can I rip it to my mp3player? Dunno.
IMHO, a waste of effort and money!
Compared to a CD?
DRM?______________No DRM_______________Your choice
No (visible) art_______Sleeve art/notes_________Previews available
Huge waste_________Slightly lesser waste______0%waste
Compatible?________Universally compatible_____If you can DL, you can play
No, this is a very bad idea. As always the record companies are trying to infect us with DRM and I'm pretty sure the songs on the USB stick are DRM protected. Therefore I believe this is ANOTHER bad move by the record monopolists that will eventually end in dismall failure.
What 'Post-CD' era?!!
The CD is still alive and will stay the premier recording medium for decades to come. No one is interested in a DRM -infected successor to the CD. NO ONE!
I find it disgusting that the Reg even tries to go along with the record-company-centric view that the CD is dead. They'd WISH it was dead so they can plug all holes and force people to pay for EACH TIME you hit the 'Play' button on your music-player.
How do flick through alubums when they're bluddy sticks!!!
Most pathetic attempt yet from sad record company...
For a start, the 'artists' whose recordings they are selling are a huge pile of dog doodoo IMHO.
Pandora's Box has been opened – It can't be shut!!!
When will these Shat Fer Brains learn. Methinks never!!
Ah...! So you too were hoodwinked by the "perfect digital sound" marketing angle on CD....!
<quote>At the moment, you buy a CD to avoid DRM and to get it in the highest quality possible.</quote>
CD's are recorded at 16 bit, so they aren't the "best" quality...24 bit CD would be much better....but no one does this in a consumer friendly "package" that is marketed properly...
The highest quality is basically on a master tape somewhere, or on LP or on SACD......all of which are on their last legs...master tapes you can't get hold of (en masse), LPs are difficult to handle, inconvenient, last 25 minutes per side (and then need turning over) and need a "player" that isn't portable...SACD never really took off, despite backing from Sony and one or two others...
And, of course, the record companies would just love us all to go out and buy the same music again (eg did I hear Pink Floyd was mentioned), so they make more money from something that's already been available before on LP, quadraphonic (CD4, QS, SQ), eight track, music-cassette, CD, DAT, SACD, MiniDisc, DVD-A, MP3 downloads, iTunes and now flash-drives...hell some of the stuff was even probably on shellac and spun at 78 rev's.....and I can also remember the BT "Dial A Disc" service - put your money in the slot and hear your favourite tune down the phone line.....! (Given that you can now download music over the phone line...someone at BT was almost ahead of the game back then...!)
Roll on the next human upgrade - a Wi-Fi connection wired straight into your brain...and cut out the middle man....!
longer lasting media
it would be better if they would use some form of prom or eprom instead of flash. music media has always suffered from degradation from use. cassettes fade and stretch, CDs and vinyl albums get scratched and skip. It will be nice to have consistent and durable media.
As for greenness, i doubt that usb keys are any worse that CDs or tape cassettes, though vinyl albums were almost fully recyclable.
Nothing beats the looks, feel and odor of vinyl records