Behold the jukebox of tomorrow

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I like this very much. Add more information and bring back the halcyon days of reading album covers and the sleeves inside.What was old is new again.


Just the thing when I want a little music while taking my food pills.

I’d turn the card reader around. Don’t most readers work in a pull direction rather than push?


From a novelty standpoint this is outstanding, but from a practical standpoint it’s pretty lacking. One of the things I’ve noticed now that I’ve become an insufferable music snob and gotten some LPs is that “Long Play” is a relative term. Having to get up every 4 songs to flip or replace the record can get old after awhile. I’m sure people will wax poetic about having to work for your music, but I’m too lazy for that.


You could make cards that run a playlist.


the limiting factors of physical media that force you to choose

I’ve been unconsciously doing this in a passive way for years. I don’t use iTunes or Spotify or any of that. I burn rip actual CDs I have, buy new ones directly from the artists’ sites when possible, or download from their site, the label, or Bandcamp when no CD is available. I dunno, I like the hard copies. I suppose that makes me a dinosaur. Rawrrr, cough, cough.


I like the concept, its not wholly practical for regular use but it’d be a great tactile way of interacting with music. Particularly i think it’d be great to make a “mix tape” kind of thing for someone and have them interact with all the song selections.

A low budget version of this could probably also be achieved by using cards with QR codes that load the appropriate song on someone’s Spotify or whatever service Perhaps even have it to where the initial scans buy/gift either the particular song or album for the recipient. Alternatively, have the songs pre-loaded somewhere online and scanning the cards for the first time gives you access to them.

Needs a changer like an old record player. If you made the cards the same size as old 35mm slides, you could probably use the mechanism from an old slide projector.


Somebody needs to up the ante and make a punchcard jukebox.


Reading through the response tweets, a lot of people are mentioning the accessibility of a physical artifact for people with Alzheimer’s. Pick up the card you want, do something very basic and intuitive to make it play.

If using a music database, any tech for identifying the choice would work — RFID, mag stripe, QR/barcode, OCR, sequence of holes.

Or the card itself could have a chip with memory embedded. Or bury a flash drive in a thicker tile to look like OG Star Trek. Mini 8-track tapes, kinda. Did I miss this form factor? Why didn’t the industry make them?

I think you’re really on to something with this. It would be a great device for people who want to use and share playlists.

If using QR codes, there could be a standard for putting together and simply printing out a playlist, or choosing ones someone has curated. A single sheet, keep them in a binder, hang the QR reader over the book, and mash a big Play button when you want to play that one.

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The article doesn’t say how old his father is. User interfaces for people that are pre-computer can be tricky. Even tablet touch-screens can be a too steep learning curve that results in a device gathering dust.

Physical knobs, buttons and these cards, like old time radios and record players are more easily grasped, as it were.


There were a number of different mini form factors put out there through various times. There were a couple that tried the digital format with cards/minidiscs storing MP3s but they all lost out to the more generic MP3 player. Thinking about it it makes sense, given the choice between carrying around the player and a bunch of small albums and a single device the single device is going to win out pretty much always, especially when the capacity of the unified storage and player is constantly going up like it did with MP3 players.

PocketRockers (mini infinite loop basically like a tiny 8-track in the 80s):



It was tried a lot of times but the MP3 player and it’s ever increasing capacity kind of killed them all off eventually. (Or in the case of the PocketRocker it was the CD)

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Do you remember the thing a few years back (ok, maybe 20) which was an MP3 player preloaded with 1000 “best of” songs collection? Sunday supplement advert kind of a thing. For people who couldn’t be arsed or tasked to put together a collection on their own. I’ll go have a look.


Not the one I was thinking of, but —

Circa 2009, “ hopes the ready-to-listen MP3 players will be a hit with older music fans who feel “daunted by digital music and technology.” The 8GB iPod Nanos feature 1,000 classic tracks from the 1920s, 30s and 40s - with the imperfections, scratches, hiss and crackle digitally removed.” — Vintage music website launches pre-loaded iPod for older fans |

The Alzheimer Society Music Project reconnects people with the soundtrack of their lives by providing MP3 players loaded with personalized music to people living with dementia. —

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No I don’t think I ever saw those. My mom had one of the early portable MP3 players though that had an actual hard drive in it. The thing was thick and you could feel the hard drive spin up and down as you moved through the menus and selected songs. It was a ridiculous device but it was really magical at the time compared to CDs.

I think it was something like this but I feel like it was larger than this looks:


I would actually love this for my kids. We’ve been struggling to find the right way to give them free access to music without parental involvement that (1) doesn’t require a screen or app, and (2) doesn’t require us to face the horror of our CD collection (both in terms of clutter and the questionable tastes of our younger selves). This seems like an elegant solution.


Spotify appears to be doing something with bar codes, but the video is so “user friendly” I don’t have a clear idea of what it is exactly. —

And here’s a page on using iTunes QR codes. —

So the loop can be closed here, just a matter of a web app to assemble playlists and produce easily printable catalog pages, and a device to automate reading and playing from the printed cards/pages. And a volume knob. And a stop button.


It would be easy to make an LCD touchscreen that displays the front of an old Wurlitzer 1015 jukebox with its 24 selections. Have the available selections change randomly to a new set every few hours. That would solve both the curation issue and the getting-tired-of-them issue.


Hey neat :slight_smile: thanks for the sleuthing. I don’t use iTunes or Spotify but i certainly appreciate seeing those features implemented already. Would just take some minor wok to replicate the “jukebox” in the article in a simplified way

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Don’t even get me started on having to wind up the spring after every other record.

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