SanDisk plans microSD cards to have music preloaded

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smmicrosd SanDisk and the four big major record labels (Sony BMG, Universal, EMI and Warner) have said they will be releasing 1GB microSD cards with music preloaded, with Best Buy and Walmart to sell the new cards. It will also come with a USB “sleeve” to ensure “seamless interoperability” with all computers.

It suppose to allow you to buy the card and then play it on your mobile phone – too bad that the iPhone doesn’t have a microSD slot. Anyway, don’t expect them to become the next big thing just yet – because of iTunes, Amazon, free streaming music sites like Grooveshark, etc.

The good news is that the MP3s will be encoded at 320kbps – a very high quality bitrate, and all the music will be DRM-free – which means you can just drag and drop the music off the card into iTunes.

Full press release is after the jump.

(Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, Milpitas, CA – September 22, 2008) – Leaders in music, retail and flash memory technology today announced they’re bringing consumers an innovative, new physical music format, dubbed “slotMusic™.” microSD™ cards will soon be made available with pre-loaded, high quality, DRM-free MP3 music of top artists from EMI Music, SONY BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. A selection of slotMusic cards will first be available at brick-and-mortar and online stores throughout the U.S., including Best Buy and Wal-Mart, with Europe to follow. A complete list of slotMusic albums, availability and pricing will be announced in time for the coming holiday season. SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), inventor of the ubiquitous microSD format, is leading the technology development behind slotMusic.

slotMusic cards enable consumers to instantly and easily enjoy music from their favorite artists without being dependent on a PC or internet connection. Users simply insert the slotMusic card into their microSD-enabled mobile phone or MP3 player to hear the music – without passwords, downloading or digital-rights-management interfering with their personal use.

“slotMusic offers consumers an immediate, tangible, and high quality alternative to CDs and digital delivery,” said Danielle Levitas, vice president, Consumer, Broadband & New Media, IDC. “This year, more than 1.2 billion mobile phones will ship globally, outstripping portable media players by nearly an order of magnitude – and this trend is accelerating.”

slotMusic cards will be packaged with a tiny USB sleeve ensuring seamless interoperability with all computers – Windows, Linux and Mac. The upshot is that slotMusic will enjoy an unparalleled, pre-existing installed base at launch: hundreds of millions of multimedia-phones, virtually any computer with a USB connector and a growing number of in-car sound systems will be able to play slotMusic cards.

The MP3-based music tracks will be played back at up to 320 kilobytes per second (kbps), offering a high quality music experience for the MP3 format.

Musicians will find slotMusic cards offer a compelling new way to express themselves to their fans. With 1GB1 (gigabyte) of capacity, slotMusic cards can hold songs, as well as liner notes, album art, videos, and other creative content that an artist may choose. Consumers can also add their own content to a slotMusic card, creating a personal plug-and-play media library.