I have been traveling quite a bit this past year speaking about the Future of Music at industry conferences, tradeshows and other music related events.   The topic of music formats always comes up and I encourage people to think expansively and try and paint a picture of a future where digital music integrates even more closely into our lifestyles.  Here are a few examples of what I have been talking about, and things that are beginning to appear in the marketplace that points towards the "Music Like Water" future we describe in the book.

Card_2Fixed Media

There are other hard formats to compete with the CD such as Flash Memory.  Capacities these days of 500 MB – 1GB are commonplace at prices around $50 retail.  Why not buy some data along with that USB drive or SD card?

Now we see SanDisk, a huge player in personal storage and the #2 maker of MP3 players announcing the Gruvi Card containing the Rolling Stones album, A Bigger Bang. You can listen to the Stones on mobile phones, selected Palm, Windows Mobile or Pocket PC OS

The Barenaked Ladies also announced that they plan to release their next project on a USB flash drive, called Barenaked on a Stick, containing 29 songs, live tracks, album art, photos and videos. Look for a lot more of this to come.


In the "Music Like Water" scenario, your music is available to you anywhere, all the time.  To identify you and match your musical selections to you as an individual, some kind of authentication will be required, such as a login on a pc, or IP address, or some other means of identification.

VeriTouch a company providing
biometric hardware devices, algorithms and encryption technologies, has announced
, a new entertainment
company that
will introduce the world’s first legal P2P file-sharing network
in a consumer set-top TV box.  The device will use a thumbprint as part of it’s Digital Rights Management solution.

EarLifestyle Digital Music Players

We are going to see a real explosion in digital music players that are tightly coupled to some marketeer’s vision of the way people want to incorporate music into their lifestyle.   If the iPod is a fashion accessory with it’s white earbuds symbolizing the solitude of the current digital music experience – we are going to be deluged with variations on that theme.  Expect to see some really bizzare products.  They are already starting to hit the market.

Thump_2Oakley is into it’s second generation of digital music eyewear, Thump.  I am a proud owner of the first incarnation of this concept and they are great for skiing and running and hanging outdoors, so long as you don’t want to talk to anyone else.

SonyearIt is one thing to identify a digital music player as a piece of
jewelry, and entirely another thing to actually pull it off.  It’s not
to say that that hunk of plastic hanging off your neck isn’t
attractive, it’s just that the execution of the concept could be better.  Here is an example of Sony trying really hard to be cool.  Not something I would enjoy having swinging from my ear…  but a clear indication of things to come.

And finally, my current favorite digital music lifestyle device, the PEZ MP3 player.  The only thing missing (unfortunately) is the candy…


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