Apple unveils customized pre-paid iTunes cards.


Apple has used Austin’s South By Southwest music festival to introduce a new type of pre-paid cards for the iTunes Music Store, according to Playlist magazine. Over 200 bands appearing at South By Southwest are distributing their own numbered, limited edition iTunes cards, which usually entitles the bearer to one free song on the ITMS. Unlike with Apple’s original prepaid Cards, the new iTunes custom cards are set to be linked to specific artists and their songs, albums, or playlists. When you redeem the card, the item the card’s code is tied to is downloaded to your computer. Some bands and their representatives are freely passing out the cards on the show floor, while other are distributing them at more exclusive venues like shows, listening parties, and press events. (Hat tip: MacNN)

Custom iTunes card collage


Nollind Whachell

In this ever growing digital world of ours, people still like tangible things that they can touch. I think this is a great idea and a potential stepping stone to something bigger.

Just the other day I was thinking about how more and more people are going digital with their music, encasing them all within iPods or other digital music devices. Yet I still think people like the nostalgia of the old days when they sat in front of their turntable with their record collection browsing through the albums as they listened to different ones. You can’t really get that feeling today with these digital devices.

I thought to myself what could be done to create this feeling again, YET still maintain a small form factor so as to avoid having to reserve a corner of your living room for your music collection (i.e. a entire wall for an LP collection or a large corner cabinet for a CD collection). The idea I came up with was something like what is shown above. It would be a small trading card sized booklet with a hard cover and a few thin pages inside. The booklet thickness would be extremely thin but still sufficient to have the album cover and artist name on the edge of it, say maybe half the thickness of a cd case. Therefore, if you placed them side by side, your large collection would take up to no space at all. Even better, if you wanted to really show off some of your most favorite recently listened to music, you could have a sort of photo album like case that holds maybe nine albums per page (3 x 3) with say at least four pages of albums showing on each side of a page. Imagine something like this sitting on your coffee table? I think it would look pretty damn cool if done right.

Ok, so what the hell do you do with these things your wondering? Is it all about just looking pretty and reading the album details inside? No, not at all. Taking it a step further with RFID technology (i.e. the pay at the pump swipe key chain sticks that people use everywhere), each album could have a RFID chip in it. RFID enabling these cards would allow you to walk up to your digital music device, swipe your card near its RFID receiver adapter (which I’m assuming wouldn’t cost that much) to instantly play that digital album contained within that device. Even better, imagine having different modes where you could swipe a few cards to get an instant mixed playlist of songs from those albums. Taking it further, for real nostalgia buffs, you could even have a tray mode where the card sits in a cradle similar to an iPod cradle when you want to listen to it. When you are finished with it, you just lift it out of the cradle and it stops playing automatically. Of course, you won’t be able to look inside the cover in this mode (because it would stop the music) but hey nostalgia has its price. :)

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