Distributing MP3 Via Newspaper

By Deane Barker on April 15, 2004

Storing on paper: This seems pretty useless, but very cool nonetheless. So a lot like Ashton Kutcher, really.

Tokyo’s Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s leading newspaper, has been printing on the corner of a page a series of black dots, which are not Japenese characters. These black dots are in a tight, uneven pattern. From a distance it looks like a woven fabric, and closely it looks like a snowy TV screen. When this page is fed through a scanner, the true nature of the image is revealed: it’s software — a computer data. In this way, the newspaper is sending music files, video games software, etc., to its 10 million customers.

Here’s the Web site of the company that makes the technology. Some interesting reading there. I found this via a neat new blog called hypulp which I found via Metafilter.



  1. Although this is a cool deal, I also asked myself why you would do this. To get any audio content from this kind of format would not only take a fairly large area of paper, but the user would also have to scan it and obtain the software to decode it. It’d be much easier and more efficient to just provide a link for the end users to download it.

    Of course, if your purposes are relaying messages surreptitiously, this might be a good tack. “This message will self-destruct in ten seconds.”

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