Corruption Kills Music
Anyway, instead I've discovered a brand new bugbear, to wit (not to woo) Copy Protected Discs.
Look for the Sign of the Beast:
Both the above albums were issuedby EMI who are pushing through Copy Protection on customers without any real warning and certainly no courtesy. This is despite the technology's obvious flaws, the main one being that these are not CDs, will not play on all kinds of CD player (car players especially, but not limited to them) and do not even qualify for the Compact Disc logo. Copy Protection effectively corrupts the Discs. What's more, some forms of Copy Protection will install a virus when first played on your PC - see this article in the Register, which also details how to disable/remove the malware.
Check out the Campaign for Digital Rights CD page for further details. Also check out the EMI Music Anti-Copy Control Information page for loads of useful tips and links on EMI's particular brand of Copy Control and how to fight it.
Basically, though, if you end up with one of these discs, you should return it to the supplier and either ask for it to be exchanged for a proper CD without copy protection or, failing that, get a full refund and try to obtain a non-Copy Protected version of the CD elsewhere. Note that online suppliers are under great pressure from the record companies not to advertise if discs are Copy Protected, so it's recommended that you email them first and ask. CD-WOW have been as helpful as they can be on this front, and have even suggested to me that I may be able to obtain non-Copy Protected versions of the CDs from retailers who source from within the UK as opposed to from the EU. I'll let you know if I have any joy on this front - but am not currently too optimistic.
I'm reminded of the Home Taping is Killing Music campaign of many years back; this campaign (in which EMI played a big part, I'm sure) proved to be Crying Wolf big time, and as noted in Forget the Spin, taping is not killing music :
However, there is a very real danger that the attitude of people like EMI will push honest customers like yours truly in the direction of file sharers, copy protection breakers etc just so we can obtain what is rightfully ours - a CD that will play properly in all CD players, that we can rip to MP3 format so we can play it wherever we choose. And once we find how easy that is, it's only loyalty to the artists that keeps us buying the official products.
The recording industry and its brethren have been crying wolf for years. At various times we have been told that the pianola was going to kill sales of sheet music, that radio was going to kill sales of records, that photocopying would kill sales of books, that the VCR would stop people going to movies, and that cheaper imported records would stop people buying Australian music.
Along the way we have been told that the use of the latest technology was immoral - everything from the photocopier to the cassette recorder to the VCR.
Some may even think the artists have sold out and no longer deserve our loyalty. It's obvious where that leads.
15th June: Well, no joy tracking down versions of the CDs without Copy Control. I reckon they're simply not to be found. However, I have managed to rip X&Y to my PC with very little trouble: simply needed to turn off Autorun to prevent the EMI (?) Player being installed, then opened up the CD in Windows Media Player, then ripped away. Don't have any track info, but can always add that retrospectively if required.
All this is covered and well described on The Register.
Pretty ineffective Copy Control, really, which suits me fine (and probably means I won't be returning my discs to CD-WOW - after all, it would be easy enough for me to generate my own proper CD now as and when I find situations where the "corrupted" disc won't play) (and, of course, it looks like no Copy Control, no music at all).
However, I'm still very irritated that EMI (et al) are unilaterally imposing new standards to the detriment of the medium and thereby restricting its accessibility. Not to mention lying to their customers in that, without Autorun off, a message come up when installing the disc saying that the Player has to be installed to listen to the music on a PC (not true!). And then installing crap and unnecessary software that in no way benefits the customer. Nor does it really prevent piracy at that.
But, if you check out the Register article above, we are suffering for the sins of our neighbours, such as the Italians. I'm almost inclined to translate this post into Italian. But then, I don't need to, do I?
All concerned will find out soon enough. And then EMI will need to issue a new version of Copy Control which will piss off a new bunch of customers. And so it goes.