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Music cards (not birthday/celebration cards mind you)

small memory card that you buy with music on it
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A number of people these days are no longer using CDs as their music format, instead using online music downloading services, such as Itunes and Music match, and then downloading that music onto their Ipod, Zune, or whatever.

I am not particularly fond of this sort of thing, because many online music stores use a non-standard format-and if the company that runs that service also makes MP3 players, you're often "stuck" with only using their products (or your computer) to play the stuff you downloaded from their site. Also, in my opinion, MP3 players get "messed up" more often than CD players break down- I've had CD players last for over 10 years!!! Also, if you're not very tech-savvy, a lot of problems with MP3 players will make you want to tear your hair out! And when you live with people who can easily solve most software-related MP3 player snafus, these problems almost always happen when the only person who can fix it isn't home.

CDs are still alive and well as a music format, but they're never going to be as popular as they once were due to the proliferation of Ipods- and with online music stores, the process of simply buying a CD, ripping it and putting it on your Ipod has fallen into disuse. Nonetheless, CDs and CD players are still being sold, and I doubt they'll really go away any time soon. They've been around for a long time, but maybe it's time a new "disk format" for music came around.

In my opinion, the best way to do this with today's technology would be to simply have a small flash memory card with several MP3 files pre-installed, and then the card could be sold alongside CDs, and an appropriate player also be made. The card ideally would have "album art" on it and/or a list of the songs on the card. You've seen CD players with Ipod docks- Now, imagine a slot on your boom box for a small card similar to one you would use in a digital camera. You insert the card into your stereo and then press "play" just like a CD. This would fare better in portable applications than CDs would, because they would not be as prone to damage and the players wont take as much power as a disk that turns round while at the same time powering a laser. Portable players of this media would most likely be pretty reasonable size, smaller than a DS lite but bigger than the Ipod shuffle. A small black-and-white LCD display to show how much power is left in the batteries, the track number etc. should be adequate-or if you really want to cut corners, a power- on light and a "replace the batteries" light-no screen is really necessary because you're not selecting playlists or changing ambiguous settings- basically nothing any more complicated than your average CD player.

This would be great for those who don't have a large amount of free space on their computer-or people like me who aren't fond of on- demand downloading. Of course, you can still BUY CDS and stereos that play them, and I personally think they're good enough, but some people may disagree due to the fact that they are easily damaged- more so than a memory card-type media would.

Dickcheney6, Dec 06 2008

Wikipedia: Minidisk http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minidisk
[jutta, Dec 07 2008]

Wikipedia: Memory Stick http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_Stick
Intended for music players, among other things. [jutta, Dec 07 2008]

Music on a USB memory device http://news.bbc.co....ainment/6065656.stm
UK band Keane released a single that was sold on a USB memory device back in 2006. I think that the Fratellis followed a year later. [Jinbish, Dec 09 2008]

[link]






       (-) Switching to yet another storage format doesn't address the standardization-, usability-, and reliability problems you're complaining about. (It may get better, it may get worse, just another spin of the wheel.) I'd rather just stay digital - I can't help but feel that shuffling little pieces of hardware about with information fixed on them is cumbersome and a waste of storage.
(Your mileage obviously varies, and that's fine.)
  

       You're aware of the post-CD media attempts by e.g. Sony?
jutta, Dec 07 2008
  

       Oh didn't know about those minidisk things, srry.   

       Anyways, the idea wasnt just to have an MP3 player accept memory cards, but they would actually sell the cards with the music already ON THE CARD-like a CD.   

       PERSONALLY my "milage" with CDs is fine, but again, your milage may vary. I just think that using some kind of disk or card instead of just downloading crap is a better idea, coz they seem more reliable and more "plug-and-play" in the end, but CDs have been out for over 10 years, and some people may think it's time for a change
Dickcheney6, Dec 09 2008
  

       I could swear that I've seen usb sticks sold with music on them...   

       {I remember the MiniDisk advert with a song by the band 'Reef': "If you know where I'm at, I might get a kick from that...}
Jinbish, Dec 09 2008
  

       MiniDisks are awesome - yes, there's a level of physical storage and maintenance that you don't have to do with digital files - but I quite like the simple link between object and content. Has anyone tried to organise their iTunes from inside the iPod? Or does everyone else end up listening to all the bands beginning with "A" all the time - I wouldn't mind, but "Prince Charming" is getting on my nerves (ridicule is nothing to be scared of).   

       Keeping a 'library' requires having the means to interface that library in a suitable way - and as cool as it is to have a solid-state 100Gb disk with all the music from all time stored on it, it's useless if all I get to listen to by the time I get to work is bloody Aswad. Currently, the only way to interface my library is by turning on my computer, waiting for it to boot up, choosing my 'tunes' application creating a playlist, and then synching that up with my portable media device - all of which is fine - playlists are cool - but I could have been out of the house 15 minutes earlier if I'd been limited to making a selection from one of my object d'audio.   

       In other words, if my 'media' is in a physical form, I can stop at the shelf where it lives on my way out in the morning, and think to myself "Hmm, I fancy a bit of Zodiac Mindwarp today"   

       Ideally, the form would be something like cheap little chewing-gum like slivers of plastic that you can stack, flick through, write on, write-protect and generally interface with manually. The player would ingest one of these slivers, reading it without making any electrical connections, allowing the slivers to remain waterproof, scratchproof and generally all-over-everything-proof.
zen_tom, Dec 09 2008
  

       // In other words, if my 'media' is in a physical form, I can stop at the shelf where it lives on my way out in the morning, and think to myself "Hmm, I fancy a bit of Zodiac Mindwarp today"   

       That doesn't appear all that different from me scrolling through the list of bands or records on my iPod, picking out one of them, and pushing two buttons that cause the device to play all the titles in the selected group. Except I can do it without being anywhere near my shelf.
jutta, Dec 09 2008
  

       It depends on the ratio between how many bands you have on your iPod, and how many of those bands you might want to listen to.   

       I had one of those old lcd scroll-wheel ipods, which decided in the end to only work on one half of the scroll-wheel, making the whole thing a bit of an effort - so perhaps I just had a poor experience.   

       Since the shelf is decidedly low-tech, short of a catastrophic shelving failure, while much less portable, it's likely to be more robust than any consumer electronics. (Let's overlook for the moment that I still need to rely on consumer electronics to play my MD or CD collection - but that's still a separate thing to storage, and the library type functions that come with that storage)
zen_tom, Dec 09 2008
  

       I'm not saying it should have an absurdly large amount of music on one big card, but selling many small card holding about 2 hours worth of music. the cards have album art stickers on them, and they are small enough to carry a few in your pocket. They are not really susceptible to scratching, and memory cards in general tend to be somewhat robust in terms of being carried around loose. you simply insert the card and press play. You can fast- forward, skip tracks, etc. anything you could do with CDs. There are also blank ones that you can put your own music on, with blank labels that can be written on.   

       Maybe the record companies should just start distributing their music on an existing memory card format-such as SD cards-and music players could then simply have a slot for an SD card-which some players do, but it's uncommon.
Dickcheney6, Dec 10 2008
  

       The reason I thought of this to begin with is that online music stores place various restrictions on how you can use your own files. For example, some won't allow you to "copy" it to more than one computer. Also, if the company that operates the online store makes MP3 players, they generally make the music ONLY work on THEIR players! Some won't even support burning the music to a CD! Yes, I know you can get past this if you're so inclined-and it IS legal to make copies of things *FOR YOUR OWN USE* but knowing how to do it is the problem-and even if you do know how to do it, I highly doubt it's as straightforward as just "ripping" a CD or DVD   

       THAT is why I prefer to use some type of disk for music and videos- you can (usually) rip them to any format you want with the appropriate computer software, play them on a far, far wider range of players reguardless of the company that makes the player, let friends borrow it, bring it on trip,(which of course you can do with an ipod as well but you have to fuss with the computer to put new music on it) use as a frisbee (: OK I was joking on that last one :) and so on.
Dickcheney6, Feb 28 2009
  
      
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