DATAPLAY – THE NEXT BIG THING (not)

Miniature CDs will hit the market this summer, presumably with a heavy advertising blitz. The “Dataplay” discs look like CDs that are one inch across and come in a small plastic cartridge. They can store up to five albums, plus a bunch of computer data, which is pretty impressive.

Sound appealing? Read this article about the real reason they’re being introduced, which is that they have all kinds of copyright protection built into them, and offer new opportunities for the recording industry to extract money from your pocket. This article talks about an “education process” to convince you to re-buy all your music in a new format.

Fortunately, there are discouraging precedents – Sony’s Minidisc never caught on, Iomega failed at selling Click discs to store mp3s, and the market for mp3 players is maturing nicely.

So when you read about Dataplay this summer, remember this summary from Slashdot: “This is a CD-like, CD-incompatible storage medium with lower storage capacity than a CD; copying, which is supported by CDs and permitted by fair-use laws is not possible; and it’s more expensive than a CD.” Great idea, huh?