One thing I noticed while making the holiday gadget demo rounds a few weeks ago is that a whole lot of tech manufacturers are putting their press kits on USB flash drives or SD cards rather than CDs or (heaven forbid) paper. To a member of the media, the smaller size and electronic format are extra convenient. And then, when you're finished with the press kit, you have yourself a free new flash drive!
Could we be seeing the same trend with music? CrunchGear reported that the British band Keane, one of those decent pseudo-indie rock groups (i.e. they had "indie cred" until one of their songs was featured on "The O.C."), has opted to release its latest single on a flash drive rather than a compact disc. The song, "Nothing In My Way," from the album "Under the Iron Sea," is loaded onto a 512 MB USB drive and comes packaged with the single's music video and a handful of screensavers as well.
An announcement on Keane's official Web site indicates that this may be a test to see if flash drive singles catch on: only 1,500 of the USB drives are being manufactured, and they will only be sold in HMV music stores in the U.K. for the equivalent of about $7.45 USD. If you're a rabid Keane fan who happens to live outside the British Isles, however, I'm sure at least two or three of these will turn up on eBay.
Problem is, those of us who are done with CDs have largely moved over to digital downloading. I like my music collection to be thoroughly clutter-free, which the iTunes Store and eMusic have been great for--a godsend in a teensy apartment. True, flash drives are small, and you can reuse them for just about anything once you transfer the music to your hard drive, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who already thinks she has too many low-capacity flash drives lying around.