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Replace Your Music....Again 538

sethadam1 writes "I was not at all surprised to find that experts are predicting the death of the compact disc in as little as 5 years. This article over at Ananova suggests the next format of music will be little fingernail-sized cards. As cool as these sound, is anyone else worried that sneaky industry folks might try to distribute all new music in DRM'ed WMA files?" Yeah, this description sounds basically like bigger Magic Gate, that wonderful situation where you can pay more than normal to get DRM. Update: 11/13 16:45 GMT by H : As RobertB-DC pointed, this is sort of a dupe - see our previous article.
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Replace Your Music....Again

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  • No thanks (Score:2, Insightful)

    I'll keep what I have - I can't imagine what the benefit of the "upgrade" would be. I can imagine the significant limitations. Ergo, I stand pat.
    • by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:12PM (#7464551)
      Well, there could be all sort of fun upgrades, depending on how much the cards store. Maybe they could put DVD-like things on there - special features, commentary, 5.1 surround sound. It might actually make buying these things worthwhile.
      • by metallicagoaltender ( 187235 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:18PM (#7464625) Homepage
        Considering things of that nature are already available with current technology, shitcanning CDs in favor of these little cards isn't really necessary.

        However, if they're willing to sell these things at a reasonable price as the primary medium for music, and end the gouging that exists with CDs, I'd consider it a step forward. If it's just a new medium the industry can overcharge for, then screw it.
        • by Curunir_wolf ( 588405 ) * on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:05PM (#7465131) Homepage Journal
          However, if they're willing to sell these things at a reasonable price as the primary medium for music, and end the gouging that exists with CDs, I'd consider it a step forward. If it's just a new medium the industry can overcharge for, then screw it.

          Of course they will! Now, naturally they will have to start out a little more than CD's, but just to recoup the equipment investment. But soon the prices will drop dramatically!
          No, no. This time they will!
        • by balloonhead ( 589759 ) <> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:10PM (#7465220)
          Of course they'll do the same as with CDs. Even though tapes cost more to produce, they're less expensive. It'll be the same with these.

          However, the good bit is - now they'll drop the prices of CDs to what tapes are now. I can't see a reason to change - CDs offer considerable advantages over tapes (particularly not having to FF and REW to the right bit) which these wouldn't offer over CDs. Except size, which is not a huge benefit when we have cheap MP3 players which we can easily use to carry music around if we want to jog to it.

          • I'm quite content with CDs as well, but when new albums start being releases solely on the new format, with no CD pressing, it obviously becomes a problem.

            Granted, I wouldn't see the underground metal genre (don't judge my musical tastes by my username, as I've been using it for 5+ years) as being the earliest to adopt the new technology, but I don't want to see a new format until it's a tangible gain in terms of both technological benefits and cost.
        • by LiberalApplication ( 570878 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @02:25PM (#7466067)
          This is idiotic. I'm not even talking about the DRM, I'm thinking about the form factor. There's a limit to how small something can become while still being of a practical size to the average consumer.

          Maybe if the plan were to distribute the files electronically and have them stored in bulk on one of these things the way you'd use a flash drive, but a fingernail sized format as the primary physical medium of music distribution? How on earth would these things be packaged and stored? We could have miniature jewel cases for them, or little binders, but what about the labels? How would you fit "The Mighty Mighty Bostones: More Noise and Other Disturbances" or "Beethoven Symphony No. 7, Movement 2, performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Christoph Eschenbach"? And what about track listings?

          Can you imagine having an Altoids tin of tiny little chips labelled with teensy-tiny ittie-bitty text, and trying to find the album you want to pop into your portable music player, while standing in a subway car or say, while driving? Can you imagine how easy it would be to lose one of these things or swear profusely as a strong gust of wind just blows them out of your car window into a fluttering confetti of $10 albums?

          I'd much rather see larger-sized storage mediums with greater capacity and do away with physical distribution of music altogether.

      • Except (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mcc ( 14761 ) <> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:24PM (#7464699) Homepage
        Maybe they could put DVD-like things on there - special features, commentary, 5.1 surround sound. It might actually make buying these things worthwhile.

        I noticed that when, for awhile, they tried to do this exact same thing under the name "Enhanced CD-ROM", it was more or less a commercial flop..
        • Re:Except (Score:3, Informative)

          by proj_2501 ( 78149 )
          which do you mean?

          there are HDCD and SACD formats which have multiple layers and thus can have more channels of sound

          or do you mean the cd with something like a video included, which is usually only used for singles anyway?
      • by 16K Ram Pack ( 690082 ) <> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:29PM (#7464756) Homepage
        But they kinda fall into the "not good enough".

        In the UK, the large supermarkets started undercutting record shops by importing from other EU countries. The record company response was to start releasing "special editions" for the UK with video clips/a few extra crap tracks/remixes.

        Most people won't pay the extra money for a few gimmicks. It was music quality and size that sold CDs. People have a replacement on the size front - MP3 players. They won't do much more about quality.

    • by Pyro226 ( 715818 )
      Ergo, I stand pat.

      Am I the only one thats increased an increase in the use of the word Ergo since the architect scene in the Matrix? Is therefore not good enough anymore?

  • by Acidic_Diarrhea ( 641390 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:09PM (#7464492) Homepage Journal
    I've got 10 CD Players and 10 CD Recorders and 10 copies of every CD I own safely stored away in my technology cellar gathering dust. If these bastards try to switch to some DRM nonsense, I'll live safely off my reserves.

  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:09PM (#7464495)
    This article isn't about the death of compact discs, it's about that new storage medium they've discovered that was already reported about. Death of compact disc is just Ananova's bullshit spin on the topic.

    Jeez, maybe Hemos should RTFA before posting.
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:26PM (#7464723)
      And what's further amusing is that many of us are glad to see CDs go the way of vinyl as a distribution method for music. But why do I want to buy yet another physical format for my music? I want the digital data. Nothing more, nothing less. Preferably in a digital format that allows me to make my own CDs, load the file onto portable devices (containing either hard drives or flash memory), and play it on my computer (which has the "out" from the sound card headed straight to "in" on the amplifier). I don't care how you transfer the data to me, whether it's CDs, memory flakes, broadband, telegraph, or telepathically... just so long as it gets to my music server where I can use as previously described.
      • Re:What? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by PhxBlue ( 562201 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:46PM (#7464923) Homepage Journal

        I'd rather have just a plain audio CD. I can record it in the format of my choice, and then do any of the things you describe above. If it's provided in a digital file format, it may or may not allow me to make CDs, load it onto portable devices, etc.; but if it's in an audio format, I control the format it takes once I record it onto my hard drive.

        • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:56PM (#7465032)
          I agree, and with all the DRM they are throwing at us, CDs are so much more universal by comparison. Just about any OS, for example, can play a CD, and oh so many inexpensive CD players... same thing with MP3.

          If they released everything in MP3, then people would complain there is no way to get the high quality you get with a CD. If they use another format, people will complain it's not mp3.

          God forbid they use a DRM crippled format... just what consumers want - to pay more for our content (because of encryption licensing fees) and pay more for our playback devices (because of decryption licensing fees). The injury is that it's crippled, the insult is that you have to pay more for it to be crippled.

          No, just keep giving me plain CDs, for now, thanks.
          • Re:What? (Score:3, Informative)

            by dasmegabyte ( 267018 )
            Uh, sorry to say this man, but the per-client decryption fee for every method of DRM I can think of is WAY less than the licensing fees people paid to SONY for CD mechanisms back in the day. Those were around $5 a unit, if I remember correctly, whereas per-client decrtption licenses are generally under $1.

            Licensing technology is the way we pay for research. I think it's unconscionable that you don't want companies to make money off the riskiest part of business.
          • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bahamat ( 187909 )
            God forbid they use a DRM crippled format... just what consumers want - to pay more for our content (because of encryption licensing fees) and pay more for our playback devices (because of decryption licensing fees). The injury is that it's crippled, the insult is that you have to pay more for it to be crippled.

            Don't worry. This will all play out and it'll eventually end up fine. Makers of music playing devices have given consumers what they want (MP3 players) in spite of RIAA's fight against it. When
  • wierd dimensions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PhuCknuT ( 1703 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:09PM (#7464497) Homepage
    Compact discs could be history within five years, superseded by a new generation of fingertip-sized memory tabs with no moving parts.

    Scientists say each paper-thin device could store more than a gigabyte of information - equivalent to 1,000 high quality images - in one cubic centimetre of space.

    So they are fingertip sized, paper thin, and a cubic centimeter? I'm having trouble forming a mental image of this...
  • by denisbergeron ( 197036 ) <> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:10PM (#7464502)
    You can buy music in a fingernail card in Toysrus with rhe little reader for 10$ (Can) and you can buy card with two or three song for +/- 5$ (Can)
    • Toys R Us has been selling those things North America wide for many years now. So has Wal-Mart.

      They're nothing like the posted story at all. Basically, you're talking incredibly low quality sound, and afaik not even complete songs. They use similar technologies to those talking Simpsons toys, or the Star Wars Commreader - basically, take the cheapest solid state storage medium you can find, cram as much as you can onto it by reducing the audio quality down to almost noise, hook up some cheap DAC and a 30 c
  • Indy Musicians (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PurdueGraphicsMan ( 722107 ) * on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:10PM (#7464508) Homepage Journal
    One thing I can't help but wonder is how these changes in the medium we distribute music on will effect the low-budget independant musician. As a musician that's tried to produce albums without the help of a record label I have to wonder if a medium like this could do wonders for bands with no money and big dreams. I know a few years back it was rather expensive just to produce cds in bulk and cds are very inexpensive. But now, if they have these little polymer chips, it should be of almost no cost to the musician. Anyone else follow my thinking?
    • Re:Indy Musicians (Score:4, Interesting)

      by valdis ( 160799 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:20PM (#7464649)
      A co-worker has a band, and they've released like 8 or 9 albums. Last I asked him, the break-even point for CD's was a press run of only 500 or so. And once you have a good master, a second press run is a lot cheaper.

      I think their biggest expense for their last album was studio time, even though they did it in a small local (downtown, in the evenings, upstairs from some store that closed at 5PM) studio.
      • Good points.

        You bring up a very good point with studio time. However, if there was a way to easily produce these chips from a home studio (like CDs) then not only would the artist be able to record the album with no costs (other than studio equipment) but they would also be able to create and distribute very high quality recordings (the chips) that wouldn't loose quality over time.

        I've tried to create my own cds and then burn them on to store-bought CDRs and I've noticed that they don't work very well o

    • But now, if they have these little polymer chips, it should be of almost no cost to the musician. Anyone else follow my thinking?

      It seems to me what you're hinting at is a future of music without the middle man (i.e. record labels) if artists are able to produce at low or no cost the music they make. Except that artists can do that now, via mp3s or some other form of electronic file distribution, or do as you did by burning their music onto CD-Rs. The real issue isn't so much the cost of the manufactu

    • Re:Indy Musicians (Score:3, Insightful)

      by back_pages ( 600753 )
      Alright, I'm sort of talking out of my ass here, but I have spent a lot of time thinking about this very issue.

      My hypothesis is that if the record labels alienate the general public past a certain point, there will be a huge shift in the pop culture surrounding music in America. (They have assuredly alienated the adjective public which represents geeks, nerds, struggling musicians, people who understand the problem, etc., pick your adjective.)

      When your average teenager has enough angst for the record lab

  • by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:10PM (#7464511)
    Does anyone else think that fingernail-sized cards for music is a BAD idea? I have enough problems keeping track of CDs sometimes, these things would be incredible easy to lose.

    Of course, the RIAA would love that - "Sorry, you'll have to buy another copy!"
    • by donutz ( 195717 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:19PM (#7464642) Homepage Journal
      Does anyone else think that fingernail-sized cards for music is a BAD idea? I have enough problems keeping track of CDs sometimes, these things would be incredible easy to lose.

      That's why I'm going to wait until music is distributed on a pill-sized pill. That way, you just swallow it, and the music is absorbed into your brain cells, giving you a permanent copy -- no worries about losing it or it being stolen.

      Come to think of it, this should be a cure (or at least a treatment) for when you get a song stuck in your just eat a different song to overwrite it.

      And I'm sure the RIAA will be all over this new music format, positively love it: how are you going to share what's in your head? They can't lose!
  • by scovetta ( 632629 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:10PM (#7464512) Homepage
    5 years in a very short time on the market as pervasive as the music industry. I still buy videotapes (no, not Betamax), but how long have DVDs been available? Consumer demand will keep CDs rolling until either (a) the quality of this new media is much better, (b) they offer some added value (cheaper?), or (c) CDs are simply no longer produced. I doubt that (c) would happen because the RIAA goes into fits if their revenue drops 10%, how'd they like a 50-60% drop because people don't want to buy chip players (for their homes, cars, walkmans, etc)-- it's too big of a change, too soon. Maybe 10 years...
  • by CaptBubba ( 696284 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:11PM (#7464518)
    The industry makes their money off of people replacing old formats. Now that pretty much everyone has converted their old collections to CD, that stream of money has pretty much dried up.

    It really was only a matter of time before a new format with one or two new features (and a few glaring flaws to be fixed in the next format) would be introduced as the replacement to the compact disc.

  • In my case, anything smaller than a CD can easily be lost. Think about how easy it will be to lose a fingernail size music album? Just because we CAN make it smaller, doesn't mean we should. Granted, a little smaller would be nice but that is TOO SMALL.

    Other examples I can think of are compact keyboards, playstation controllers, many consumer digital cameras, etc.

    • In my case, anything smaller than a CD can easily be lost. Think about how easy it will be to lose a fingernail size music album? Just because we CAN make it smaller, doesn't mean we should. Granted, a little smaller would be nice but that is TOO SMALL.

      ACK. In my opinion the mini-disc is the definitiv lower end. Everything smaller gets blown away when someone sneezes :-) But the RIAA would definetely like to see those mini-media BECAUSE they get lost and you'd have to re-buy your music.

  • No one wants to fiddle around with something that small to hold music... it makes much more sense that we will all have digital players that can download music at wi-fi spots, wherever we are. That way, no fiddling with cards, and if the player has the little cards in it, then it can hold x GB of music, which is plenty until you get to the next wi-fi spot, which will have different songs, etc. :-D
    • by bigman2003 ( 671309 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:20PM (#7464650) Homepage
      I don't think that the future of music lies in its media format. Those days are gone.

      But, I agree with the parent, the big future is distribution. Of course, that is what everyone is talking about now- creating a new method to download music.

      What the music is stored on will be secondary. Some people will put it on a hard-drive, some on Compact Flash, some will burn CD's.

      The CD/DVD media is not too bad, but carrying around an entire CD for just one album sucks. More CD players will be able to play MP3/WMA/(insert your favorite codec here).

      Who cares what the music will be stored on in retail stores- nobody will be getting their music there in 5 years anyway.
  • Does anybody actually buy MagicGate memory sticks? My clie nx70 can use them, but I don't see any point to them. As implied in the article, they cost more and do less than a regular memory stick.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    CDs 'could be history in five years'

    Compact discs could be history within five years, superseded by a new generation of fingertip-sized memory tabs with no moving parts.

    Scientists say each paper-thin device could store more than a gigabyte of information - equivalent to 1,000 high quality images - in one cubic centimetre of space.

    Experts have developed the technology by melding together organic and inorganic materials in a unique way.

    They say it could be used to produce a single-use memory card that pe

  • Distribution of music via physical means is already dead, except for niche markets. The corpse is just really large and taking time to rot.

    As digital media, the CD will simply be replaced by DVDs of various kinds, same size and shape but 10+ times the capacity.
    • What I'd really like is a medium similar to a CD or DVD that wasn't so easily damaged. Something that I could handle without having to worry about fingerprints or scratches. Something like a Flash card with the capacity of a DVD would probably be ideal, except maybe with an interface less prone to damage than the tiny pins you have to plug flash cards into.

      Maybe instead of trying to make things so small they can easily be sucked up by a common vacuum cleaner (thus forcing you to buy more...hmm...), they
  • Yeah right... (Score:2, Insightful)

    Old music formats never die, they just become niche markets. Vinyl is still around, and with CD/DVD drives on so many PCs, compact discs aren't really going to go away anytime soon. Moreover, one factor not taken into account is the packaging: what are they going to do, start printing fingernail-sized booklets of the artwork and lyrics that you can only read with an electron microscope?
  • Shortsighted (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:12PM (#7464542) Homepage Journal
    The Ananova article focuses solely on the implications for music storage. That will, no doubt, be a major application, but the important part of the story is: permanent, reliable storage with a data density of 1 GB/cm^3, for God's sake! This seems to me like a major breakthrough that will have implications far beyond whether we can or can't rip an MP3 of the latest disposable pop star of the week's manufactured hit single.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    finally i can put my music with my coin collection... in the couch.
  • by tuffy ( 10202 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:12PM (#7464545) Homepage Journal
    The researchers claim: "turning the invention into a commercially viable product might take as little as five years". Would that turn out to be true and this device takes off, it'll still take a few years to push CDs out of the marketplace. Though I'm certain the RIAA would love to sell you your music colllection all over again, that task would likely take years more to complete.
  • It was a big conspiracy when CD's hit the market, now it's a big consipiracy that something else will replace them... Yes, if you want to, you can replace all your existing music with whatever this new medium ends up being... but you don't have to. CD's are digital, and unlike the Tapes they replaced will last in the same quality as they day you purchased them... no need to replace your entire music collection... that's just FUD...
  • Sounds good but (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JamesD_UK ( 721413 )
    I'm always loosing CD's how am I going to sort through a collection of thumbnail sized pieces of plastic, I just know I'd loose everything! Did anyone else notice in the article that the "paper thin" devices can store 1GB in a cubic centimeter? I'm pretty sure something paper thing with a volume of 1cc is more than thumbnail sized. I assume that these 'thumbnails' aren't supposed to hold 1GB?
  • I'm not worried yet. It's difficult to get folks to embrace potentially limiting technology without changing the medium (see VCR vs. DVD). Besides, unlike cassette tapes, where quality is an issue, my CDs are more or less as good as the day that I bought them. There is no reason for me to buy music I already own on a DRM-enabled chip, only new stuff (and best of luck trying to sell them without selling CDs too), so that will slow adoption considerably.

    It's not time for doom-and-gloom yet. Thumbs down
  • No matter what, they'll need to ensure the quality is leaps and bounds better than current CDs - or else no way in hell people will switch.

    SACD or whatever 5.1 format you like recorded on a DVD should definitely be the next thing. I can't wait until new automobiles are sold with a THX-certified 5.1 speaker system installed at the factory.. Ahhh
  • by RobertB-DC ( 622190 ) * on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:15PM (#7464580) Homepage Journal
    Yes, we all know this article is a dupe [], but Ananova slanted the data to look at CDs in particular.

    The problem with replacing CDs with this technology is the form factor:

    Scientists say each paper-thin device could store more than a gigabyte of information - equivalent to 1,000 high quality images - in one cubic centimetre of space.

    I have enough trouble finding my CDs in the car without having to worry about them blowing away in a stiff breeze. If size were the issue, CD Singles would be released on half-size discs... in fact, many pop albums don't seem to have more than 30 minutes of music anyway.

    The best way to incorporate this technology in a consumer-oriented music distribution would be to enclose it in a larger plastic enclosure with an interface to the player. Something like this [], perhaps?
  • Not this little black duck.
  • This would be just like media play. A DRM enriched small piece of technology that will be held back by the DRM. What's different about this that makes it worth buying over the established based of hundreds of millions of CD players? Nothing at all, short of the recording industry refusing to put music out on round shiny objects that were once called CD's, it's just not gonna happen. Tech history is full of superior technology that never took off because it was either too expensive, or DRM'd. It's simply not
  • With finger nail sized cards, these things are going to be lost so quickly that it won't matter!


    I know, I know... I'm a luddite...

  • In the future (actually, our present day!) people won't have to "change" plastic things to switch songs- they'll just hit the next button.

    And iTunes (or whatever FSF alternative is better...) will show them that they have 29 days worth of music on their current playlist. And when they want to take their music to their friends house they can simply take a harddrive- be it an external USB 2.0, or just a regular old internal IDE...

    I have a portable MP3 player with Smart Media cards- they are small, they l
  • Dude, with this new technology you can lose your music in your change jar, couch, laundry, through the cracks in your floorboards, etc.. Just imagine trying to change "fingernails" while driving on the road (as if CD's weren't a pain in the ass as it is.. :) ). I think the industry would LOVE this new format as they're banking on selling the same albums over and over to people who misplace their stuff regularly (guilty I am).

  • by fleener ( 140714 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:16PM (#7464602)
    This news comes as fresh amusement because I am on the verge of converting my CD collection to cassette tape. Cassettes are cheaper media, devoid of DRM, and my car came with a cassette player by default.

    I don't dislike CDs, but every CD player I've owned has eventually broken, while my portable cassette players from the '80s are still rollin'.

    I'm pretty darn sure that whatever The Corporation decides will be The Next Best Thing, I will still be able to dub it to tape.
  • That's Awe-some! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:17PM (#7464617) Journal
    The future of music is cookie-cutter boy bands and oversexed boobie-girls on little cards.

    Don't we already have this? They're called Hit-Clips by Tiger and they look like they suck.

    I don't see how the *new, Improved version* for adults is going to be any better.

    I think the future of music is that artists will actually come to your house and play, as that is the only way the record company execs will be able to get their kids solid-gold braces.

    Launching way OT, remeber that promotion that Master Card was running where they show the record industry intern make his way up the ladder to exec, where he has a fur coat, a private helicopter, and a stripper on each arm? Priceless.

  • Isn't this story just a reprint of the slightly older HP, Princeton Develop New Memory Material [] story?
  • This will only happen if the new media offers the consumer a clear advantage over CDs.

    CDs replaced LPs because they offered numerous advantages over vinyl, smaller size, greater music clarity, etc...etc.... If whatever comes down the pipe does not offer more benifits it won't be adopted.
  • 1cm cubed? Huh, i'll probably miss it and stuff it in my morning, not very awake, coffee.

    I thought credit card size and form was about right. Then my memory jogged and I recalled my days at my previous job. How many PCMCIA cards were lost by "accident" by thoughtless management PHBs?

    (I reckon I know that more than a few early expensive ones ended up at Crown Casino via Cash Converters).

    Yeah, and I'd better be able to get the music off this thing and put it back my Nex-II. AND I want to back this up or ga
  • For music media, the size of a Gamecube disc is pretty ideal, if you ask me. Anything smaller would just be a pain in the ass. Even if you didn't lose the things, how are you going to store them? In a giant pile? Have fun finding the album you're dying to hear in that situation.. And while smaller-than-CD would be ideal, it wouldn't be ideal enough for most people to go through the trouble of another format switch. Sorry, record companies, but CD quality audio is more than enough for 98% of the people
  • The real future of music is this. At home everybody will have multiple gigagbytes, even terabytes of storage. Hard disks are cheap now, and will become so much cheaper in the future. Everyone will have a huge collection of mp3s and divxs and the like. Everyone will carry around wirelessly networked devices that will play audio and video in some way. All the data will be sent from your file server at home to you in real time. And if you try to play a song you don't have, then a transparent p2p network layer
  • Look at this 'album' cover! It's a DOT!!

    Sometimes, smaller isn't better...

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fizban ( 58094 ) <> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:21PM (#7464673) Homepage
    Why waste money on more expensive solid state distribution methods when we already have a cheaper solution working today?

    There's absolutely no need to sell new fingernail sized cards that replace CDs, when they can just distribute over the internet. If anyone needs to carry around their music, then they can just buy memory cards and move their music around on those.

    And on another point, if they start selling fingernail sized cards, are they still going to package them in CD size boxes and waste more space than they have to?
  • How's this going to fly with consumers? Are the advantages big enough that people would switch en masse? CDs were smaller and priced about the same as record albums when they first came out. They also didn't wear out like cassettes. There was a definite advantage for the consumer. Are consumers really demanding a replacement for the CD? Or is this a misinterpretation of the general dislike for CD pricing and electronic alternatives?

    My gripe with CDs has nothing to do with physical characteristics (I have a
  • on any storage or computer technology that isn't bent into a "DRM MS is teh suck" right off the bat, by whatever troll submitted the article?

    Here we have a story about cool solid state tech that can store albums on tiny little silicon wafers. And for no reason at all some wanker conspiracy theory about DRMed WMA files gets tacked onto the end of the submission.

    Typical slashdot submission:

    "Company X has announced a new quantum processor, as well as a storage medium that can store 12 thousand petabytes on
  • These people think that music will continue its 'logical progression' of Vinyl-->Casettes-->CDs-->Something_cool_and_small . The point they dont get is that music doesnt need an unique media to be stored anymore.

    The concept of music has jumped the physical barrier of having to be stored in one determined medium. Now the medium is no longer important as it can and should be distributed to all types of medium without restrictions. How this affects artists rights, it is the same old debate...
  • by sydbarrett74 ( 74307 ) <[sydbarrett74] [at] []> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:26PM (#7464725)
    'Oh great, now I have to get the White Album all over again.'
  • by Sleen ( 73855 )
    Its not just the death of cds, but recorded music that is coming. Lets face it, there is nothing special about buying a protools rig, some microphones and cruising the highschools for some talent. The recorded medium is already dead. The emphasis will shift away from automatic music generators, autotune, and all the dj's masquerading as talent.

    Music was, and is still a PROCESS, not a file, in the system.

    More and more musicians, even the electronic ones are adopting the discipline of creating as opposed
  • Shipping music? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kohath ( 38547 )
    Why do we need a new media format to ship music? What's the point? You haven't needed to "ship" music for years now. It's a download.

    Where have these guys been?
  • by release7 ( 545012 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:30PM (#7464781) Homepage Journal
    Nowhere in the article is anyone quoted as saying "CD's will be history in 5 years". Record companies are going to pick the next medium base on two criteria:

    1) Will it sell?
    2) Can it stop unauthorized copying?

    I'm sure record companies are eyeballing many potential storage technologies to replace CDs. But the article doesn't give one good reason why these chips will be tha annointed one.

  • Lessons in reality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by salesgeek ( 263995 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:35PM (#7464842) Homepage
    Let's look at the history of digital storage media and copy protection:

    * Floppy Disk - lots of stuff got tried, it all got hacked.
    * Hard Disks - lots of stuff got tried, it all got hacked.
    * Removable Media - lots of stuff got tried, it all got hacked.
    * CDs/DVDs - Still trying lots of stuff, it all got hacked.
    * Removable RAM/ROM storage - been around forever, and for the most part has mostly been hacked.
    * paper thin thumbnail size media - stuff will get tried, it will get hacked.

    You would think in 30-40 years of computer technology that someone would figure out it's next to impossible to secure digital information FROM BEING DUPLICATED.

    The paper thin, thumbnail media is cool. DRM is a waste of time and money.
  • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <sd_resp2@earthsho[ ] ['d.c' in gap]> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:40PM (#7464883)
    The public will not fall for such a cheap stunt again. CD is here to stay for a looooong time. Its faults are quite tolerable. The only reason anyone ever put up with the lousy audio quality of walkman tapes was the ability to record your own at home. One of the recordable DVD formats, together with an open-standard audio codec, will be the next logical progression for portables. Uncompressed CD can already stray beyond the ken of most consumer-grade headphones and loudspeakers. If any new format takes over, it will be one we can record at home - and whatever it is, we're not going to pay to replace our CDs with it in the same way we replaced our vinyl LPs with CDs.

    Now think about this for awhile. When you buy a piece of prerecorded media, the cost is going two ways. Some is going on stuff that you can do for yourself {i.e. writing to media and assorted logistical matters}, and some is going on stuff you can't {i.e. singing the song in the first place -- well, you could do that, but I'm assuming you want to hear it as performed by the original group}.

    We should contact our representatives and push for a new law: Non-Discriminatory Licencing. The gist is, if the group has licenced the record label to sell the music on their media in return for a certain fee paid to the group, then anyone should be licenced under the same agreement to make one copy of the music for the same fee. Furthermore, anyone distributing the content to third parties must make said third parties aware of the fact that they have a right to make copies conditional on payment of a fee, the amount to send and who to send it to.

    Fair enough, it won't stop anyone copying without paying; but I think there are many people who would pay a nominal fee in return for not being criminalised, and I don't see for one instant what difference it makes whether or not I involve the record labels, as long as the artist gets their money. Record labels are just middlemen - and expensive ones at that. Everyone likes to miss out the middleman if they can.

    Traditional deal: I pay 14.99 for prerecorded CD, record co. takes 14.00, artist gets 0.99 {note these figures may not be strictly accurate as I don't know for certain how much of the purchase price of a CD goes to the artist}
    Under NDL: I pay 0.20 for blank CD, 0.02 for electricity, 0.99 to artist, artist gets 0.99.

    If I wanted to sell the media I had recorded, or offer the files for paid download, I - not the eventual recipient - would be responsible for paying the artist's fee, and the law should not allow me to disclaim such responsibility.

    If anyone cares enough to comment, I'll probably write a more official-sounding spec for my NDL vision that might be better received by government types.
  • by dozer ( 30790 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:43PM (#7464910)
    I know without a doubt what the next physical medium will be for me.


    After getting used to my 60 GB MP3 player (swapped drives on my laptop and Archos) and ripping all my music into my computer, I'll never get up to go swap a (tape/cd/fingernail speck) again.

    There won't be a next physical medium.
  • by Experiment 626 ( 698257 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:51PM (#7464977)

    When cassettes came along, they offered an advantage that appealed to customers: they were small enough to take with you.

    CD's offered improved sound quality and much better ease of use (no more fast forwarding, rewinding, or turning the media over to hear the rest). They also avoid the glitches or pops that other media develop under normal wear and tear - CD's only scratch from mishandling, not from the laser wearing them out. These advantages allowed them to overcome their (artificially) higher price and initial read-only limitation

    Other media have been proposed but not caught on. 8 tracks briefly flourished, but offered no advantages over a cassette tape, yet were bulkier and more annoying to use. Mini-discs offer only small size, which isn't enough. Audio DVD's have improved sound compared to CD, but this hasn't proven sufficient reason for anyone but an audiophile niche to take much interest.

    On the other hand, MP3 has slightly lower sound quality than a CD, but has gained widespread acceptance, much to the RIAA's chagrin. Ease of use surpasses even the CD, and the portability problem has been solved - a person's entire music collection can fit into their pocket, or listened to across a (high bandwidth) network with no physical media at all. A bonus for the user is the upgrade path. Rather than it being easier for the user to buy all the music they already legally own/license/whatever over again, a CD ripper is all that is needed to move your previous investment into the modern times.

    In this landscape, where does this new format fit in? What does it bring to the table that would compel joe user to embrace it at all, much less buy all his existing music over again? Sure, it's small, but not as small as an MP3. Manufacturers might bump the audio quality up to THX level, but that would only give a benefit to those who have both a discerning ear and high end audio equipment. Price could be dropped to entice people to switch, but the RIAA isn't that intelligent. Extras and bonus materials could be offered, a la the DVD, but that would take a lot of work from the publisher and probably be passed on as a higher price, further stacking the odds against acceptance.

    In short, I don't see what advantage this would offer would be that is compelling enough to get anyone to adopt it.

  • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:57PM (#7465046) Homepage
    ...this isn't news. This is more of a consequence of the earlier article about the polymer/thin-film silicon high cap memory story. Of course all of this may end up being irrelevent in as little as five years- but it may take decades and still not be there, just like holographic storage (which held the same level of promise- and existed since the 50's and 60's...)
  • by lamz ( 60321 ) * on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:57PM (#7465790) Homepage Journal
    I believe that CDs are the last of their kind, and will not be replaced by anything similar. Rather, the wave of the future is network distribution of the music files, either as AAC, Ogg Vorbis, MP3 or whatever you like. Once CDs are done, no one will ever go to a store to buy music on storage media.

    A little over two years ago, I bought a satellite receiver with a built-in PVR. At the time, I had plans to buy a DVD player, but never got around to doing so. I don't have a DVD player, (well, my computer has a DVD burner, but I've never watched a movie on it,) and don't miss it. Why? Because I find that the electronic distribution of movies and TV shows directly to my PVR's hard drive is superior to renting DVDs.

    There are restrictions, of course. My aging PVR only holds 30 hours of video, which rules out long-term archives. I have to program what I want recorded ahead of time, etc. However, as technology advances, these restrictions will go away. All that is needed is increased storage space, faster transfers, and some sort of ability to network PVRs together. All of those things can be accomplished today by enthusiastic home-brewers, and can be reasonably expected to show up at Costco before the decades out.

    In my picture of the home of the future, there will be a large raid array of hard drives somewhere in the basement between the furnace and the hot water heater. It will be wirelessly accessed by various devices throughout the house, such as audio players, televisions, cameras, scanners, etc.

    The important part is that no one will have to make two trips to BlockBuster for every movie they want to watch!
  • by TempusMagus ( 723668 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @02:43PM (#7466260) Homepage Journal
    What folks fail to realize, and these companies especially, is that the CD format, as originally envisioned, did die a horrible death. The CD-R completely changed the landscape and started to effect people's perceptions of CDs in general. What was originally an expensive to produce one-to-many delivery mechanism had transformed into a many-to-many cheap DIY revolution that was a logical extension of what came before while maintaining backwards compatibility. "Wow! I can play this in my CAR?!" This whole escapade should serve as an object lesson. The CD revolution that we are still experiencing is the direct result of a ubiquitous and formerly closed technology being opened up without restrictions to common, and decreasingly technical, folks. If the introduction of CDR had been highly restrictive or less versatile it would have never taken off to the degree it has. I could go on for hours as why CDs are here to stay and the new DRM enabled and proprietary media formats are doomed for failure - (which is more than obvious to the /. crowd). What I find truly interesting is that introducing new DRM-ish media and formats perpetually tempts large companies. I think the main appeal is controlling the playing field followed by selling new electronics to support new formats. There is also a weird percolation of pressure between the consumer, the media giants and the electronics companies. All of them, ostensibly, wield political influence. The marketplace (consumer) does not want to be locked in. Like they used to say, it's hard to go back to the farm once you've Paris. The electronics companies - want to sell more electronics. CD burners, DVD players, PVRs etc. Selling new features and extending open media formats seems a safer play than introducing restrictive DRM enabled formats from scratch. Creating players to play media with non-standard protection schemes or media has burned them in the past. The big media giants are completely freaked out. They like being big media giants. They believe in letting the marketplace decide as long as it decides in their favor or, at the very least, doesn't question the fundamental assumptions of why we need media giants. They will bend over backwards and do anything to maintain their control - including putting massive pressure on electronics manufacturers to create more DRM enabled products. This creates an odd dynamic where media pushes DRM, electronic companies get their toes wet introducing it slowly, customers push back and get angry with the media companies for the hassle, electronic companies get cold feet and pull-back. And on and on and on and on. All the while folks will be ripping CDs to listen in the car.

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