The days of physical media are almost over. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Blue Ray disks bite the dust in a few years and I’m not the only one, but that’s another topic. The future is online and the only thing really holding back online adoption by the masses is clumsy DRM punishment for customers who buy music and movies online. Most people don’t even know what DRM is, but they do know what it means when they find out they can’t copy a song from their favourite device to their new computer (I’m looking at you Apple). This is severely annoying and the industry still doesn’t get it. We have been able to rip, share, and use our CDs and DVDs on any device we saw fit, but unfortunately this is not the case with our downloaded purchases. The industry needs to stop locking down things we paid for! Stop treating your paying customers like criminals, the people pirating this stuff will continue to do so and you only hurt legitimate users.
A stupendously stupid idea
With that said, last month someone at SanDisk came up with the not so brilliant idea of selling music on microSD cards. The really strange part is big businesses are supporting this concept. Check out slotMusic for the cheesy video of how you can stick a microSD into your hand held device to transfer the music. Why would I want to do this when I can just download the music from my favourite online store. No waste, no adapters and nothing extra to carry around. There are already a number of sites pointing out how dumb this is from a user experience point of view, but there is another seriously bad taste to all this.
More throw away technology for no reason at all
Right now we are living in times where we can save a lot of garbage from impacting our environment, but we keep coming up with stupid dirty ways to use clean technology. I mean you really have to go out of your way to make mp3 albums have an impact on the environment. This raises the same issues as Esquire’s questionable use of E ink last month did. We have an efficient, affordable, and totally clean way to distribute media, but no we have to come up with a way to deliver this media on plastic, plastic that will inevitably end up in land fills. Sure it’s a tiny piece of plastic, but I’m sure it will come packaged in even more garbage. I will be the first to admin that I could be more green in my lifestyle, but I try not to deliberately create an environmental problem when it is completely unnecessary. I’m all for plastic gadgets, and cool toys, but not ones that are designed to be thrown away in large quantities.
Here’s the real kicker, this music will be DRM free, so basically we have incentive to buy dirty technology just to have DRM free music. TechCrunch has added that each microSD will come with a USB converter further adding to the cost of manufacturing and garbage. These albums will be sold for under 10 dollars supposedly, so I imagine SanDisk expects the cost of manufacturing MicroSD cards to decrease, but the cost to our environment will not.
Many people have pointed out that USB drives are a more practical method of distribution, but again we come back to the needless waste problem again. We don’t need to have our music, movies, books and entertainment in general on physical media. Getting digital media online is easier, much easier. The good news is most people think that this crazy idea will never catch on. The sad part is that it was ever thought up in the first place.