MagnaTune Offers TunePlug: Flash Drive Filled with Music

Downloading music or buying CDs wonit be the only way to get new music, if Magnatune has its way: The record label that bills itself as "not evil" announced Monday that it is now shipping TunePlug, a USB Flash drives pre-loaded with 10 albums of music. The music on the TunePlug Flash drive can be transferred to any computer with a USB port, any portable music player capable of playing MP3s, including all iPod models, or burned to a CD.

TunePlug MusicOn Flash

"TunePlug delivers music in its highest-quality form that can be played anywhere, on any computer or portable device," John Buckman, founder and CEO of Magnatune, said in a statement. " Our venture marks the first time that music has been distributed to consumers in this way -- itis the future of the music industry."

The TunePlug Flash drive comes in a variety of sizes, from 64 megabytes to 512MB, and can also be reused as a portable data repository. For sizes smaller than 512MB that cannot hold 10 albums of music, Magnatune provides a link so that TunePlug buyers can download the songs not included on the Flash drive.

"I expect that since 120MB of space is free on the 512mb model," explained Mr. Buckman, "that (TunePlug buyers) will put whatever files they need or are working on onto the USB Flash drive, and whenever they plug in anywhere, theyill also have 10 albums of music to listen to. Also, since more and more MP3-oriented people buy CDs just to rip them, and then store the CD away forever, it seems to make more sense to deliver high quality MP3s directly, along with liner notes and photos."

TunePlug can be purchased directly from Magnatune; prices start at US$19.99 for the 64MB version.