Of the more than one billion mobile phones sold last year, some 750 million had microSD card slots. Sandisk, one of the creators of the Secure Digital (SD) card format, decided to take the next step by developing SD micro cards as a music format. Sandisk convinced hip-hip artist Akon to release his album Freedom on CD and slotMusic format on the same day. That was an industry first. Akon was the must played artist on cellphones in North America in 2008.
SlotMusic cards are only being sold at two outlets, Walmart and Best Buy. Of CD and microSD card sales at Walmart during a 60-day period from mid-November to mid-January of this year, more than 13 per cent of the purchases were in slotMusic format - up from five per cent in late December. Card sales of albums by the Pussy Cat Dolls and Jimi Hendrix are overtaking their CD sales at Walmart. SlotMusic cards for Nelly's Brass Knuckles and Usher's Here I Am made up over 40 per cent of sales.
Sandisk will probably make the microSD cards as the centerpiece of its digital music business. Its Sansa line of music players have not faired well in their competition with Apple's iPod.