You have to feel sorry for SanDisk. No sooner has the company announced its new slotMusic initiative to sell digital albums on microSD memory cards, than it’s getting a good shoeing from pretty much every tech blog out there.The headlines tell the tale. Mashable (‘Music On Physical Media Should Look Way Nicer Than This’) says the format falls between two stools. “They’re selling us music on physical media with all the common flaws (and none of the advantages) of digital music. It’s not going to work at any price, let alone 7 to 10 dollars which is probably going to be the price tag for these things.”And there’s much, much more…For example, GigaOM (‘SanDisk SlotMusic Cards Are Destined To Fail’) says the venture is sure to end badly, and has some pertinent questions about the business model:”The cost structure of these devices is pretty strange. Depending on what the price is — between $7 and $10, according to The New York Times — I wonder how much money is left for SanDisk after paying off the music industry Shylocks. On top of that SanDisk will offer an adapter to plug these cards into USB slots of computers, and even that is going to cost money.”Want more? Michael Arrington on TechCrunch (‘Music on microSD: I Can’t Believe The Labels Fell For This’) doesn’t mince his words:”Get one of these while they last, because they’ll be collectors items by this time next year. The future of music is free streaming and (also free, eventually) downloads, not physical media.”Music blog Crenk (‘MicroSD Music A Good Idea? SanDisk Thinks So’) joins in with the brickbats, saying “Quite honestly this idea may have been approved, but it’s dead before it’s even started”. And finally Jupiter Research analyst Mark Mulligan chimes in (‘slotMusic: the CD’s Successor? Perhaps Not’) with the flaws he’s spotted in SanDisk’s strategy:”The success of the format depends upon consumers opting to walk into a participating store (which may well be an issue) chose from a probably limited catalogue (anyone remember the pitiful sight of MD album sections in music shops?) and then remove their existing memory card to slot the album in. Begs the question, why wouldn’t they just download it from an online store and sideload it?”It’s safe to say there’s a consensus of opinion – among tech bloggers at least – that slotMusic is dead in the water. But perhaps the most damaging post can be found on the Silicon Valley Insider blog (‘You Think SanDisk SlotMusic Is Bad? Check This Out’), which kicks off by musing how much worse slotMusic could be if it had DRM music, music by older bands, and a much higher price point…And then points out that SanDisk tried exactly that in 2005 with something called ‘gruvi’, flagged at the time as “the first removable flash memory card of its type to be sold with premium music content” – which at the time meant a new Rolling Stones album.

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