Thursday, March 17, 2005

Indie rock, prepackaged on a USB drive

How cool is this? Independent record label Magnatune has recently partnered with Hanna Micron to offer what they're calling TunePlug - little USB drives, preloaded with music from the label, which you will eventually be able to purchase at retail stores, much like current CDs (or, that's their hope, anyway). $70 gets you ten complete albums from the label, with no downloading involved - simply plug the USB drive into your computer, and you're ready to go. (They have other options as well, including a $20 "sampler" with only a couple of tracks from each album.) And even better, once you've transferred the albums to your hard drive, you're left with a half-gig USB drive that you can use over and over for personal tasks. How smart! They're selling music cheaper than you can get it at iTunes, promoting ten bands on their label simultaneously, eliminating the need to download those 140 or so songs piece by piece off the internet, and giving the customer something extremely useful as a leftover bonus. It makes me wonder what other kinds of artistic organizations could take advantage of such a product as well. (Thanks to the always excellent Gizmodo for pointing this out.)