CDs are DEAD! Long live CDs! A paradox. A puzzle for consumers, for distributors, and especially artists.

flash drives unlimited shapesMusic use to be strictly a live social gathering. But, since the invention of the radio and to some degree printed music — music is also private. We take it with us in our cars, on our phones and store it on our computers.

Digital music, we all know is the future of music recordings. Digital distribution being pretty much free. No cheaper to distribute a million copies than a hundred. So, what holds us back in fully embracing that digital world by holding onto CDs?

As a consumer — I’m one of those individuals that has lost a harddrive to unforeseen circumstances. Also, preferring to download my music without restrictions on my use of device, or the format I want to download it in.

As an artist $10 for a “CD” download on Itunes, or most online digital stores – seems fair. Certainly good for fans. But after Apple takes its 30 percent (which I think is outrageous), you’re still stuck selling CDs at your live venues.

So, how do we go completely digital? Satisfying both, the consumer’s need to hold your music in their hands and give artists a way to bring downloads to venues and capitalize on the buzz of playing live. Essentially, making your digital physical. beatles apple flash

The Beatles Self-titled [USB] [Box set] [Limited Edition] is the perfect example of what is possible.

The Beatles 16GB USB Stick has everything. It includes all 14 of the band’s remastered stereo titles and each of the 13 mini-documentary films about the making of the records. Limited to just 30,000 pieces and housed inside of an exquisitely crafted green apple (what else?), the Stick offers higher-resolution audio that trumps what’s available on CD.

Small, computer friendly, rather novel and the sound quality is exceptional. It takes the digital release to a new level. Making the intangible (download) and rendering it vendor portable, and more importantly, marketable. Something that can sit on your table at concerts — right between the shirts and water. Shiny music filled baubles only limited by your imagination.

Thomicro + adapterugh, I don’t see flash drives being the complete answer to the “physical digital” debate. More of a novelty, than anything else. I do see, SD/microSD/miniSD Cards giving CDs a run for their money. What? SD Cards, you say! Yes.micro SD

Secure Digital (SD) is a non-volatile memory card format developed for use in portable devices. Widely used in digital cameras, digital camcorders, handheld computers, netbook computers, PDAs, media players, mobile phones, GPS receivers, and video games. And, all SD/microSD/miniSD cards have the same physical shape and form factor (though minis and micros often come with SD adapters).

This form is universal, looks like a cd-record-album, is graphically brandable and already formatted for virtually every digital music playing device on the planet.

Looks like… Physical Digital to me.