Storage company SanDisk and the four largest music companies are teaming to create a new physical format for music called slotMusic that the companies hope will one day replace the audio CD. Based on the microSD flash memory storage format that SanDisk created and sells in volume, slotMusic will provide consumers with an album in digital form, liner notes, lyrics, artwork, and various other extras.

The first 29 albums in the slotMusic format will be made available in October via US retail giants such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart. The music will be sold in unprotected 320 Kbps MP3 format, ensuring that the songs are compatible with every PC, device, and music management software application used worldwide. They're expected to cost about $15 each.

The new format is aimed primarily at cell phone users, many of whom already have an available microSD slot on their devices. But because microSD compatibility isn't very common on PCs, the slotMusic albums will also come with USB adapter so that customers can transfer the music to their PCs.

EMI, Sony BMG, Universal Music, and Warner Bros. have all agreed to test market the new format. Albums by artists such as Elvis Presley, Rihanna, New Kids on the Block, Weezer, and Leona Lewis will be represented.