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The Next Big Thing: Contactless SmartCard Music Sales and Distribution Format.

Like most of us, my love for music began as young boy when I bought my first albums; Zimmerman’s was one of my first.

Record albums were pressed in “vinyl” in those days, a material which nearly went extinct when other formats came along; formats which were less expensive to manufacture, less expensive to distribute and perhaps most importantly to be considered –more convenient– for people to buy and use.

Them ol’ automobile manufacturers never figured out how to put a record turn table in a car so when we took our sweethearts to the drive-in we had to settle for eight track tape players.

I’ve heard it said Waylon Jennings gave Conway Twitty the nickname “Mr. Panty Dropper.” I’ve been playing guitar and trying to sing like Conway for decades but I’m telling you, back in the day they called boys like me hoods and we were way hipper than jocks because hoods knew the secret to hitting a home run with a girl was an Elvis tape.

Eight track tape player with Elvis tape

Tape formats stayed with us for a long time. In fact the cassete tape that replaced the eight track tape format is still on the shelves this year of 2019 but it was the CD and the DVD formats that followed tape and really kicked shit into a higher gear as some of us who play the most famous riff in rock know all too well…

Layle and Other Assorted Love Songs CD

I bet you thought I was going to start talking about Stairway to Heaven? Well yea but I still have the Bell Bottom Blues, I’ll alway have the Bell Bottom Blues. I literally wore out the first Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs CD I purchased long ago and I’m working on the second CD. One of my guitars is named Layla so go figure.

So I do figure and I figure its time to comment about the new digital formats that do not wear out. More importantly I want to comment about the physical media that is used to distribute the digital music and what is about to become the way music will be sold and distributed.

Like CD and DVD we’re still talking about a type of plastic media to distribute music as well as all other digital goods but we no longer need to buy and use an electronic device like a CD player to play the music when we have the SmartPhon, the cellular networks and cheap data storage. The plastic that is about to change the music industry is a format called SmartCards and as I’ve intimated the electronic device most frequently used to purchase and play music is called a SmartPhone; that doohickey many of us on the planet carry around every day and night.

The SmartPhone has become a phenomena. Late night comedy shows make big money joking about them. Students writing their PhD thesis write about them. Parents wonder if they did the right thing buying their 12 year old daughter an iPhone. You get the picture?

The number of global SmartPhone users grew from 2.1 billion in 2016 to around 2.5 billion in 2019 and continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

As the big boys who own and control the global financial payment markets know a phenomena is a terrible thing to waste. So they wasted no time developing the means to use a SmartPhone to buy stuff. Lots of stuff in fact. Anything and everything that can be purchased can now be purchased using a SmartPhone.

The big boys wasted no time making financial transactions faster and more convenient. They know human behavior. They know human beings salivate like Pavlovian dogs and human beings will do just about anything for instant gratification. So what did “they” do? They adopted contactless payments that they first rolled out in Europe and other “not USA” nations where the people are easier to train. Voilà! instant gratification.

Despite our reticent ways contactless payments are slowly but surely sweeping across America. Contactless is here and its here to stay. The era of tap-to-pay will eventually do to the plastic credit card what the plastic credit card did to the paper checkbook. How do I know this?

I know this because that’s what the big boys want and what the big boys want the big boys get and the big boys get what they want because people in America have become Pavlovian dogs and most of them do what they are told to do or they get no treat. Period.

So you might be wondering, “if I can use my SmartPhone to tap-to-pay what else can I tap on?” Well, the answer is lots of things in the process of being transformed. Its the Near Field Communication (NFC) wireless cellular network communication protocol that makes tap-to-pay possible and NFC is a tightly controlled global networking standard. That standard is publically available to any and all of us smart enough to learn to use it. All it takes is that “vision thing.”

So as the founder of tapABILITIES I have the vision thing. What I’m going to tell you by wrapping up this way too long commentary is the fact that plastic is still with us and will be for a long time to come but not in the formats we were trained to use; we’re being retrained to (((tap)))®.

The vison fairy told me that plastic contactless SmartCards will be the way music is sold and distributed.

Like the ~$127 billion gift card industry, selling and distributing music with plastic is all about REALLY BIG MONEY. Selling and distributing music will follow the same proven business models as gift cards have. Pavlov says so.

Keep your eyes and ears open boys and girls because any day now you will be using your SmartPhone to (((tap)))® on a piece of plastic to buy, download, and playback your favorite tunes and all kinds of stuff, stuff we need and stuff we don’t need but buy anyway. Why? Because Pavlov proved that…now sit, roll over, staaaaay. This information was your treat. Please try to use it wisely.