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Custom USB Drives for Musicians and Artists

Custom USB Drives for Musicians and Artists

You spin me right ‘round like a record. Or a cassette, CD, or a USB.

Music. We can’t live without it, right? Over the last 50 years, our love of music hasn’t changed but the way we consume it certainly has. Specifically, the media we use to enjoy recorded music has gone through dramatic changes over the last several decades, from vinyl records to streaming music platforms. One of the most popular current music distribution formats is the USB drive, which we will cover in detail, but first, a short history of recorded music media.

Vinyl Records

The earliest recorded music playback devices used cylinders. In 1901, the Columbia Phonograph Company began selling round, flat pre-recorded discs along with cylinders. These early discs were made of shellac and slate dust, and in 1948, Columbia introduced another first: the vinyl record. Vinyl dominated music sales until the late 1980s and gave us words we still use today: “single,” named after 45 RPM records that contained a single song, and “album,” the longer form 33 1/3 RPM record, which contained much more music.

8-Track Cartridges

As people spent more and more time in their cars and less time at home, the 8-track cartridge was invented to let consumers play their music on the go. 8-tracks used magnetic tape for up to 90 minutes of music play time and reached their peak of popularity in 1978.

Cassette Tapes

Cassettes displaced 8-tracks as the on-the-go music media of choice in the early 1980s. They were smaller, more convenient, and provided better audio quality and quickly grew to their peak of $3.7 billion in sales in 1989.

Compact Disc (CD)

Introduced in 1982 as the successor to the vinyl LP, CDs were also useful as portable music media, and could be enjoyed at home, on the go, or in the car. The CD reached its peak of $13 billion in sales in 2000 and a whopping 95.7% market share in 2002 (RIAA).

Digital Music

Starting in the 2000s, other digital music media started to replace CDs. The rapid adoption of internet and satellite technology introduced digital music downloads and streaming, which quickly overtook CD sales.

After that quick history lesson, one thing becomes clear: music media changed as the times changed, as did the consumer’s preferred way to enjoy it. Basically, it’s all about convenience. When shellac and vinyl records were king, we spent much more time at home to enjoy these non-portable music media. As our car use increased and we became more mobile, 8-tracks, cassettes, and CDs ruled. Now, technology has advanced to the point where we can carry 4,000 digital songs in our pocket. Cars and computers don’t even come with CD drives anymore, but they do have USB ports.

 And that brings us to the main topic of this post – music on USBs.

Indie musicians have been embracing USBs as a method of music distribution for more than ten years, but it is rapidly gaining momentum because musicians can give fans and followers personalized USB flash drives with much more than just music to strengthen their connection with them.

 A 1GB USB can hold around 250 MP3 songs (depending on length and quality) and there aren’t many artists with song catalogs that large, so imagine all the other content you can put on a USB: high-resolution images, song lyrics, behind the scenes video files, stories about your influences and inspiration…the possibilities are endless. Best of all, your USB drive can fit in pockets and can be accessed just about everywhere! 

Here are just a few ways musicians can utilize USB drives:

  • Save your in-progress audio files and mixes so you can collaborate with other musicians around the country and around the world.
  • Record your live shows and repackage them into special ‘fans only’ souvenirs or sell them.
  • Send your work to music industry influencers, like record producers, record labels, online broadcasters, and podcasters.
  • Save your own personal music collection and organize them into ‘playlist’ folders.
  • Use them as your ‘behind-the-scenes,’ where you show fans your hangouts, favorite clubs or bars, your record collection – anything that helps you create a stronger connection with them.
  • Sell them on the merch table at your shows, along with your CDs and T-shirts.

USBs are available in a wide range of sizes and are large enough to hold just about everything you want to store on them. Storage capacity depends on a few factors, of course, such as file type and size and quantity of files. As mentioned, a 1 GB USB can hold around 250 MP3s, which is an audio encoding format. MP4s are a multimedia format that can display video, audio, and text, and take up more storage space. A 60-minute 720p MP4 video takes up around 1GB of disk space.

Personalized USB drives are an amazing storage and distribution media, and their benefits aren’t limited to musicians. Other organizations that could benefit from digital content distribution via USBs include:

  • School concerts or theater productions, or even sporting events.
  • Dance studios and music schools with professionally filmed recitals.
  • Experts that want to showcase their DIY education skills, just gardeners, mechanics, and woodworkers.
  • Creative professionals like artists, photographers, graphic designers, and writers can benefit by sharing their portfolios on flash drives.
  • Training experts can create drives filled with videos and documents to teach geographically dispersed teams how to do, create, or fix things.

Again, the opportunities for using personalized USB drives are endless!

Music is a great example of an industry that is continually reinventing itself and adopting new technology, and musicians can benefit immensely from using USB drives to distribute their music and connect with fans.

 DiskCopy has been handling media duplication since the days of magnetic tape and we’ve seen it all, including using USBs as a content distribution vehicle, and we can load your data onto your personalized USBs so you can distribute them in the best method for you. We can also offer additional packaging options to really make your USB stand out and attractive to your audience.

DiskCopy is the industry’s most trusted name for exacting media duplication because every bit is important. We pioneered media and data duplication for businesses in the early 1990s and we have decades of experience and expertise with all types of media duplication.

 When you need high-quality media duplication services, you need DiskCopy.

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