Universal to revive dead CD single format

Tiny discs to restore single market in turn


Universal Music's UK wing is to bring the 8cm CD back from the dead later this month, in a desperate bid to revive the singles market. The 'new' format will be called Pocket CD, but is essentially the compact CD developed in the mid-1980s as the format for CD singles.

Alas, all but a handful of CD players were unable to cope with the format, requiring owners to clip extension rings around each disc to take them up to the standard 12cm CD album size.

The 8cm format passed away, at least in the music market, though you do occasionally come across them offered as novelties or as driver discs for small IT products such as USB Flash drives.

Each Pocket CD will contain three tracks and - for the first time - codes that enable buyers to download ringtone versions of the songs. Mobile phone ringtones are seen as the basis for an increasingly lucrative music market - sales have already outstripped CD singles.

Global ringtone sales will total around $3.5bn this year, compared with just $232.5m last year for global singles sales, down 18.7 per cent, the Financial Times notes. In 2003, the value of the UK singles market dwindled 30 per cent to £85.2m.

Of course, since a ringtone is merely an alert, we can't see anyone actually using them as a way to experience music. 'Call me now, please - I want to listen to the new Kylie single.' However, such is the turnover of ringtones, that it's going to be big business whether folk are listening to them or not.

Universal reckons other labels will follow its lead. They may do so, but will it make much difference? If the singles market is going anywhere, it's online. Apple and Napster need not fear the Pocket CD, and they too may make a move into ringtone territory in due course, assuming the major labels can agree to realistic licences. UK digital music provider Wippit already offers ringtones. ®

Related stories

DVD Forum backs CD/DVD hybrid
Universal builds 20TB digital music archive
Napster gives away MP3 players
HMV iPods not compatible with store's music downloads
Papers plan digital music moves
Apple opens iTunes in the UK, France and Germany
OD2 unveils 1p-a-play digital music jukebox
Virgin to open music download service
French music biz staff revolt over downloads


Other stories you might like

  • Research finds consumer-grade IoT devices showing up... on corporate networks

    Considering the slack security of such kit, it's a perfect storm

    Increasing numbers of "non-business" Internet of Things devices are showing up inside corporate networks, Palo Alto Networks has warned, saying that smart lightbulbs and internet-connected pet feeders may not feature in organisations' threat models.

    According to Greg Day, VP and CSO EMEA of the US-based enterprise networking firm: "When you consider that the security controls in consumer IoT devices are minimal, so as not to increase the price, the lack of visibility coupled with increased remote working could lead to serious cybersecurity incidents."

    The company surveyed 1,900 IT decision-makers across 18 countries including the UK, US, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia, finding that just over three quarters (78 per cent) of them reported an increase in non-business IoT devices connected to their org's networks.

    Continue reading
  • Huawei appears to have quenched its thirst for power in favour of more efficient 5G

    Never mind the performance, man, think of the planet

    MBB Forum 2021 The "G" in 5G stands for Green, if the hours of keynotes at the Mobile Broadband Forum in Dubai are to be believed.

    Run by Huawei, the forum was a mixture of in-person event and talking heads over occasionally grainy video and kicked off with an admission by Ken Hu, rotating chairman of the Shenzhen-based electronics giant, that the adoption of 5G – with its promise of faster speeds, higher bandwidth and lower latency – was still quite low for some applications.

    Despite the dream five years ago, that the tech would link up everything, "we have not connected all things," Hu said.

    Continue reading
  • What is self-learning AI and how does it tackle ransomware?

    Darktrace: Why you need defence that operates at machine speed

    Sponsored There used to be two certainties in life - death and taxes - but thanks to online crooks around the world, there's a third: ransomware. This attack mechanism continues to gain traction because of its phenomenal success. Despite admonishments from governments, victims continue to pay up using low-friction cryptocurrency channels, emboldening criminal groups even further.

    Darktrace, the AI-powered security company that went public this spring, aims to stop the spread of ransomware by preventing its customers from becoming victims at all. To do that, they need a defence mechanism that operates at machine speed, explains its director of threat hunting Max Heinemeyer.

    According to Darktrace's 2021 Ransomware Threat Report [PDF], ransomware attacks are on the rise. It warns that businesses will experience these attacks every 11 seconds in 2021, up from 40 seconds in 2016.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021