Portable audio & copy protection

Dear Record Company,

I just received my latest shipment from Amazon.co.uk. Previewing songs, referral to related artists, only 2 days between ordering and delivery, I love shopping the Amazon way. Which is probably why I buy around 50 CDs a year.

Amongst the CDs I ordered(BuzzinFly, Kinobe, Deep Dish) was the new Zero 7 CD: “When it falls”. I saw the group live in Brussels, they were great!

Now the issue is the following: their CD has an invention from hell called “copy-protection”. I don’t know what you use, Macrovision or something, but it stinks!
The backcover mentions “can also be played on most CD-ROM drives, by means of the included compressed file”. So I tried it on my PC.

Result: my Windows Media Player keeps crashing on it – mostly taking my PC with it, because the CD-ROM becomes inaccesible. My MusicMatch won’t play it, and I haven’t even tried RealPlayer, because I don’t want to reboot more than 3 times in a day, life’s too short. So I can only look at the cover and wonder what it sounds like. Oh, it will probably play in my DVD player back home (it’s an old Sony, it doesn’t support MP3). But not here, now, in the 4 devices I have at my disposal that I use for ‘normal’ CDs.

Not only do you ‘make it hard’ to copy the CD, you also ‘make it hard’ to listen to it. All that to prevent me from copying my CD. Why in heaven’s name would I want to copy/rip the CD?

  • Recently my car got vandalized, all my CDs were gone. Luckily they were copies. I keep the originals back home.
  • There is no CD insurance that gives me a new CD when the old one is scratched.
  • I make MP3 compilations for listening in my car. 10 CDs give me 60 albums.
  • My Nokia 5510 does not accept CDs

But I know, you guys are very anal about your content. And every young kid is copying and exchanging hundreds of albums1, right?

I can only say, you’re now using a flaky ‘copy protection’ system that prohibits me from listening to a CD I just purchased. It will not play on over 80% of the audio equipment I’ve got.
What’s next, CDs only playable on your own ‘certified’ CD players?

My request to record companies:
Inform the on-line record stores on what CDs are using ‘copy procection’.
Make sure I can see on Amazon if you’ve messed with a CD I want to buy.
Just like DVD zones 1, 2 and 3: I don’t want to buy Zone 1 DVDs, because I can’t play ’em.
I don’t want to buy ‘Copy protected’ CDs, because I can’t play ’em!

Oh wait, here’s a thought: offer your music on iTunes, tell ’em to speed up their Europe operation and I’ll happily download it at 1$/song and enjoy it whenever and wherever I choose. Stop swimming against the stream, use it.

1Just out of curiosity: did the average kid buy 100 albums/year 20 years ago? Are you sure it’s all ‘missed business’? I know I couldn’t afford that.

[Listening to: “Home” – Zero 7 – When It Falls] — (sigh) I wish …

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