Four Major Labels Make Deal To Release Memory Card Albums; Weezer, Elvis Among the First Wave

September 22, 2008 4:24 PM ET

The slow segue from CD to MP3 took a giant step forward today when it was announced that SanDisk had reached a deal with all four major labels to begin selling memory card albums of both new acts and classic artists. The one-gig Micro SD cards will make their first appearance in Best Buys and Wal-Marts in time for the holiday season. Each memory card will contain the album in all its 320kbps and DRM-free glory. The music industry, trying to fight off rapidly decreasing annual CD sales, hopes the memory card's immediate accessibility with cell phones, computers and MP3 players will result in a revenue renaissance. The initial batch of micro carded albums will feature 29 artists, including Weezer, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo and Elvis Presley. This doesn't mark the first time the major labels have experimented with memory cards: last year, UMG celebrated the anniversary of Bob Marley's Exodus by releasing a limited edition USB stick, while EMI got revenge for Radiohead's exodus from the label by releasing a memory stick with the band's entire non-In Rainbows discography. This new round of memory stick albums will sell for between $7 and $10 apiece — much cheaper than the standard price of the antiquated CD.

Related Stories:
Bob Marley USB Album Release to Save Music Industry/Kill the CD
Bizarro Grammys: The White Stripes' USBs, Gerard Way's MCR Packaging, Flaming Lips' Surround Sound

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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