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WRONG NOTES: a blog of ear reverence

Wrong Notes collects posts on music, art, culture and fun stuff. Also included: news about the Ear Reverends.

Playbacks again, I told you so

An I-told-you-so that with an icky side-effect.

It's been more than 4 years (!) since I wrote The future of music playback, wherein I imagined that one possible medium for music in the future would be custom music players (that I called "playbacks"). Basically, the idea was around music player hardware becoming so inexpensive and small that it'd someday become as viable to sell a music fan a whole, physical, mp3 player as it is today to sell her a CD or a collection of mp3 files.

So, I just learned about the new Journey Preloaded MP3 Player, which, for about $40 from Wal-Mart gets you a fancy mp3 player sporting Journey-themed artwork and including the new Journey album as well as "11 re-recorded classics." And, yeah, therein lies the icky factor—take your pick: Journey (in general), Wal-Mart, the new Journey album, or the re-recorded classics. Sorry, if you were eating. . .

Anyway, my main point: I think this is an obvious next step towards a world of music "playbacks." A couple quotes from my original post:

The physical design of Playbacks will be focused on either the symbolic value of an object, or the utility of a user interface, or both. . .

People will collect Playbacks because they are nice, physical, objects to associate with music. . .

People will produce "branded" Playbacks. . .

Musicians and artists make some money designing and selling Playbacks to go with specific music.

You heard it here first!


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. . . the new music player is very coming soon and such . . .