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Keane’s new single on USB memory stick

October 30, 2006

Keane usb single

After their hit-single “Is It Any Wonder ?” , british rock band Keane released today their new single “Nothing In My Way” in a groundbreaking new format for single releases: a 1500 limited edition USB memory stick available only through HMV stores. It will be presented in standard-sized CD packaging, with the memory stick shrink-wrapped to the sleeve artwork, so it will be easy to merchandise in-store. The single will also be available in CD, vinyl and digital formats.

This unique innovative format bridges the gap between physical and digital channels of music distribution, and offers a truly multi-platform media package. The uniqueness of this new product also extends to the fact that it is re-usable, as this memory has a huge capacity of 512Mb and is the world’s thinnest flash drive.

The USB single release is chiefly targeted at technology enthusiasts, many of whom have turned to unofficial downloads in recent years. This single also comes without copy protection, meaning that it can be played on a wide variety of digital music players.

Gary Rolfe, HMV Head of Music comments:
“HMV has always helped to pioneer the development of new formats, so we’re delighted to support this groundbreaking initiative from Keane and Island Records by being the first retailer to stock such a release. It fits perfectly with our stated aim of giving fans the widest possible access to music and entertainment products across all platforms, however and whenever they wish to buy them – in-store, online and digitally. The beauty of this product is that it brings all these different elements together, further underlining our credentials as a multi-channel specialist.”

“We’re definitely testing the waters,” said Island Records general manager Jon Turner, adding he would “love to see” more releases in the format next year. “I’m delighted that Island Records are leading the way in embracing groundbreaking and innovative ways to deliver music to the consumer. The Kingmax SuperStick introduces a new dynamic to the format business and could well become a standard music carrier in the future.”

The content will include “Nothing In My Way” in mp3 format and video, X3 screensavers (Corin Hardy tube animations) and a link to special page on the website to view an alternative version of “Nothing In My Way” (including a competition to see the band in the U.S. next year).

But Keane are not pioneering the idea. Canadian band Barenaked Ladies started selling albums on USB drives last year.

Robbie Williams also released his Greatest Hits album on a memory card for mobile phones and hand-held computers in 2004.

Will these devices and attempts to sell digital music through physical formats be a step into the future or remain an attempt is something only time will tell. The fact that, unlike the CD single and digital versions of the song, it will not be eligible for the official UK singles chart certainly makes you wonder.

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