Cool format alert: Playbutton, ‘Why just play a record when you can wear it too?’


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A few weeks ago Dublab, the L.A.-based DJ collective and online radio station, tweeted a little note about one of the upcoming mixtapes that they drop from time to time. The collections, which vary from odd, ethereal soundscape cassettes to CD compilations of, say, freaky Bollywood sounds of the 1960s and 1970s, usually nail it, mostly because the individual members are music headz true and true.

But the tweet that piqued interest had to do with the format that one of their upcoming mixes will be released on: a little thing called Playbutton (pictured above). Playbutton is a pin with an earphone jack that you affix to your lapel, or jean jacket, or best silk blouse. The pin itself is an MP3 player that holds an entire full-length mixtape. Just pin it on and plug the buds into your ears and, bingo, you’re set. According to Playbutton’s website, the music on the pin is pre-recorded, can’t be downloaded or changed: ‘Like an album, the sequence of the music can’t be altered.’


Questions remain -- most important, how long is the battery life, and is said battery replaceable? Regardless, with music now completely untethered from the stereo, these little gifts of music strike us as a quirky, smart way for artists to get their music to the masses. Will it take off? Who knows? But with production starting this month, the little device has garnered ample attention.

Dublab, a nonprofit, is currently in the middle of its annual fundraising drive, and all week has been broadcasting mixes by some of L.A.’s most intriguing DJs. You can listen here.

-- Randall Roberts