I am very lucky to be on the receiving end of a fair amount of free music. Thanks to DJ’ing and some other hookups I’ve been labeled a “tastemaker” and get sent a few free CDs every month to listen to and review. Like most things free, it’s fun to get and much of the music is fairly good. This story isn’t about music, though, it’s about stupidity.
I recently received an advanced copy of an album by a band called “Under the Influence of Giants.” Like most of the CDs I get I brought it work to listen to in the background. When I put this CD I noticed some FBI piracy warnings, but nothing more than the usual. Then I hit play in iTunes and all I got was a strange drum loop. It kind of sounded like the CD was skipping, but that wasn’t right. Anyways, I switched songs and the same thing happened. I tried a few others, but on those I got nothing but silence.
Perplexed I pulled the case off my shelf and looked at it, on the back was this friendly message: “COPY PROTECTED: THIS CD IS PROTECTED AGAINST UNAUTHORIZED COPYING IT IS DESIGNED TO PLAYIN STANDART AUDIO CD PLAYERS. IT IS NOT DESIGNED FOR PLAY IN COMPUTERS. PLAYBACK PROBLEMS MAY ALSO BE EXPERIENCED WITH CAR STEREOS, DVD PLAYERS AND GAME CONSOLES.”
So I’ve been sent a CD that I can’t play in my computer, DVD player or game console. That’s insane. I don’t even have access to a regular CD player at work and at home, the only one I have is in the shower, hardly the best way to listen to music with a critical ear.
My question to the record label (Island Records) is this: At what point does your quest to protect your property completely ruin the experience? The DRM on this CD is at a level that makes me unwilling to ever listen to the music. Now if you’re trying to save an industry, is this really the best way to do it?