Friday, 18 June 2004

Copy-blocked vs making the most out of technology

Some music companies have been introducing copy blocking mechanisms on music CDs that mean they are impossible to read in a PC CD drive. Alledgedly, it is meant to reduce illegal copies. The first artist to use this mechanism was CĂ©line Dion who released a European edition of her A New Day album that could potentially crash your computer. Other artists who used this technology include Eminem and Velvet Revolver whose copy-protected CD shot to number 1 in the US. Now, does it mean that people have been buying it because they can't rip it or just because they like it?

Whatever the reason is, I think this is a very stupid way to improve CD sales. I personaly refuse to buy a CD that is copy protected for the simple reason that I want to be able to enjoy the songs on my Palm while going to work on the tube or on my computer at home when my stereo decides to pack up, which has happened twice in 3 years. And I'm not going into the potential damage to my computer or the data it contains if the CD actually makes it crash. This is just plain stupid.

Contrast this with the attitude of artists like Garbage and Dido whose respective CDs Beautifulgarbage and No Angel include extra goodies, a song reconstruction game for the former, a couple of video clips for the latter, that are available when you put the CD in a PC drive. So rather than protecting their CDs against technology, they actually use the same technology to provide their fans with material that makes the CD more valuable and therefore more attractive to buy for people who might otherwise have downloaded it from the net.

Maybe the music industry will one day learn to listen to their customers and embrace technology rather than fight it? We can dream but at least some artists understand it and they are definitely the ones who will see the colour of my money.

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