With a 14% drop in CD sales and the end of illegal downloading nowhere in sight, Sony BMG hopes its new approach to selling music, christened Platinum MusicPass, will turn the tide (or at least keep them afloat).  Starting January 15, Sony will begin offering credit card-sized album vouchers that work a bit like iTunes gift cards at retailers like Best Buy and Target across the country. But instead of corresponding to a set dollar amount like Apple’s cards, these cards will entitle the buyer to a specific album (in digital form), sold in its entirety. Valleywag points out that many are dismissing Sony’s program as unprogressive, but argues (in Sony’s defense) that many music fans still prefer to purchase their music – and do so at chain retailers.  The cards also offer several advantages over traditional CDs, for buyers (the MP3 format fits into most people’s lives better than CDs do), musicians (complete albums are sold, not single song downloads), and retailers (the cards require much less shelf space/can be recyclable).

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