Like many folks, when I was a youngster I used to wear lots of button badges to proudly show what bands I liked. Imagine how cool it would be to allow friends to plug a set of earphones into your badge and let them listen to your favorite bands, too. That's exactly what the Playbutton MP3 player will allow you to do. Each device will carry one album's worth of music, have controls on the back to play and skip tracks and adjust EQ, and contain a Li-ion battery for up to five hours of continuous playback.

The company's Nick Dangerfield told Gizmag that albums by Javelin, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Bubbles, Opening Ceremony, Mount Eerie, Oval, Mark Borthwick and Dublab will be amongst the first releases on the Playbutton format. Talks with major labels, as well as a good number of independents and artists, are also well underway so it might not be too long before your own favorites enjoy either exclusive or shared release as a button badge MP3 player.

Each 1.7-inch diameter Playbutton badge will contain one album's worth of 320kbps MP3 tracks on its flash memory which, depending on the size of the album on offer, will likely be between 100MB and 250MB. The graphic on the outside should correspond to the music contained therein, but could also be some exclusive artwork or motif. In addition to the pin at the rear, users will also find the playback and EQ controls. Volume is adjusted by pressing and holding either the FF or REW buttons.

To the bottom of the stainless steel casing is a 3.5mm jack that's used to connect both the earphones and USB charging cable. The Li-ion battery said to give about five hours playback between charges.

Playbutton is a closed system, with no track deletion, modification, uploading or downloading allowed. "Downloading the content is not an issue for us," Dangerfield told us. "If the client (label or artist) wants to make the content downloadable that is fine with us. That said, some of our releases are for Playbutton-only, and we quite like the idea that certain music pieces only exist in the little button."

The device is scheduled for late February availability and will be priced at either US$20 or US$30, depending on the type of release.

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