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A Poke In The Eye With A CompactStick

Blog | December 6, 2008 | Updated: June 27, 2012 | Posted by Basilisk

Psyshop is set to introduce a new physical format, the CompactStick, on December 10th. Although information is scarce, it would appear that these things are stripped down USB flash drives that can hold roughly two gigabytes of data. The CompactStick is packaged in a standard CD jewel case with a modified inner tray as shown in the photo.

The first wave of releases coming out on CompactStick include upcoming albums from Atmos, Vibrasphere, Astrix, and Electric Universe. These pending releases will feature heaps of bonus material: additional remixes, music videos, desktop wallpapers, and other multimedia content. Some will also feature source files for remixing–something Vibrasphere has previously explored on their own web site with great success (have a look at how many remixes of “Floating Free” are floating around out there).

Now for the big question: what good is this new format? It will probably cost more than a CD and take just as long to ship–and once the stick arrives its contents will be dumped to the customer’s computer anyhow. This seems like a terribly wasteful and roundabout way to download a bunch of files! In my experience, most psytrance fans are not looking for a new physical format to replace the CD–they’ve already made the switch to downloading digital media. The idea of bonus material is great–but why not apply this value-added strategy to existing digital releases? The industry standard is very low at the present time: most digital releases cost more on a per-song basis than a CD, high-resolution cover art is generally unavailable, selection remains limited, and files are seldom tagged properly, if at all. Why Psyshop’s label partners found it prudent to invest so much in an untried format when their existing digital products remain so lacklustre is downright perplexing. How about offering free bonus material and a bulk discount for customers that purchase an entire album from the leading digital download shops? I suppose that might be asking too much. At any rate, the market will decide–but I don’t imagine that CompactStick will fare much better than Twisted’s short-lived experiment with releasing on MiniDisc in the late nineties. And, as an aside, is it really wise to make CD buyers feel any less important?


  • hmm says:

    indeed, I wonder what this will bring and why is it such importnant to release musci on Compact sticks..
    What about the number of reading capabilities a compactstick supports before it goes corrupt? I guess, we’ll see.

  • Frederick says:

    Personally, I don’t think this format will survive (much like the failed attempts of Twisted indeed). Like all our forefather technology, what was the point of investing in a new format, when many that are around are good enough anyway. The fact that no real discount is around for digital media is a fact. Psy-trance is still beiing illegally downloaded/traded amongst many dj’s & enthusiasts. This new format is not about to revamp the music industry, it’s merely a marketing stint aimed at the few real collectors.

    Is this product eco-friendly to begin with?

  • Gregér says:

    Well at least there is no DRM, correct me if I’m wrong.

  • Basilisk says:

    4 months later and I count exactly 14 CompactStick releases available at Psyshop. It’s not exactly taking off.

  • Jade says:

    Yeah this format is just silly really. I totally agree that the standard of digital releases needs to be greatly improved as is – how hard is it to provide a set of hi res images for a start? The one benefit this does offer is a larger capacity than a CD, allowing for more/higher res audio, but then so do DVDs ;)

  • TMX says:

    I would really like some hi-res artwork, i bought the newest Day-Din album(A place to be real),
    Guess what, i couldn’t find any artwork on the Usb stick, how stupid is this, even the music isn’t great enought for a Flac material,
    a waste of time, disc space, not to mention the Mac compatibility…

    when i pay 50 £ for a remix pack i expect the full shit, with at least some MIDI files, that’s not exactly what i got (well, thanks for the wav files but i’ve got those on some sample CD years ago)…

    I remember Minidisk format to be some kind of a bad joke (remember Shpongle), but this is worse…they should make a solid digital distribution instead