The 500,000 Song iPod

There's a new chip coming that will allow iPods, mobile phones and other consumer devices to hold as many as 500,000 songs.

The biggest iPod currently holds only 40,000 tunes.

Still, that's about 39,700 more than some radio stations play -- which is exactly part of the problem with the next generation.

IBM is behind this new chip. It will cost less to produce. Require much less power to operate -- maybe for a week at a time on one charge and it may last decades. (The last benefit sounds nice but very few of today's consumers would be caught with even a five-year old MP3 device or cell phone).

They call this "racetrack" memory which uses the spin of an electron to store data. And it has no moving parts -- similar to flash memory, the hot thing for today's devices.

Soon misguided radio execs will be blaming these new 500,000 song iPods for the demise of their businesses.

As usual, they are only partially right.

Any device that eliminates commercials, mindless dj patter, liners and positioners and actually allows the listener to hear music variety is a threat. Even one that holds only 1,000 songs.

And therein lies the problem -- the radio industry is missing the point. The next generation really means it when they say they want variety. Radio programmer's know best -- or so they still think.

Play the hits.

Well, radio is playing the hits and young listeners are bailing out on terrestrial radio at a record pace.

So, let me push you a little.

Can you imagine a radio station with a 50o,000 song capability?

Of course not.

Not even a 5,000 song capability.

But what if -- while technology is feeding the growth of the next super-iPods -- radio broadcasters increase their playlists on their terrestrial stations and streams.

What if -- instead of receiving only the iTunes Tuesday new music email, WXXX or KXXX sends me all the new music in their genre. I can click and listen. I can buy (it might be so convenient I'd actually pay). I can get lots of info about the band, the singer, the inside story.

What if -- instead of trying to get young people to listen to streaming radio on their cell phones (isn't going to happen), they get in the business of -- dare I say it --

Helping young consumers to load their content on Apple's 500,000 song iPod when it arrives.

There's no time to waste.

Instead of cursing the dark. Light a fire.

The best thing that can happen for the radio industry -- the greatest entertainment content providers in the world -- is to have a new MP3 player on the market that stores a half million songs or 3,500 movies.

See what I mean?

This is an opportunity to form another stream of income. A good one.

Dump the HD radios and get ready to fill up the increasingly large memories of the next generation's iPods.

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