19 June 2005

I'm caught in the crossfire

I bought Ben Folds's new album, Songs for Silverman, but I had to return it because it wouldn't play on my computers at home or at work, making it mostly worthless to me. It wouldn't play because it doesn't conform to the Compact Disc specifications. It is a DualDisc.

Supposedly DualDiscs exist to add DVD-like bonus features to CDs. Videos, interviews, that kind of thing. In particular, Silverman comes with a copy of the whole album in 5.1 SurroundSound—a phenomenally cool feature, if I had a SurroundSound home theater, which I don't. But really DualDiscs exist to fight music piracy. I know this because Songs for Silverman isn't sold on CD. This really drives me crazy, since I don't pirate music and haven't for years. I can't even buy an album I like and listen to it at home anymore. Technology sucks.

I'm particularly irritated at Sony because the fact that the disc was not a CD appeared in print about 1/8-inch high on the back of the CD. Barnes and Noble graciously gave me store credit when I returned the DualDisc, even though I had already opened it. I hear some record stores don't do that. They all should; it's borderline fraud to put these non-CD things into CD cases and sell them alongside CDs without warning your customers.


Helen said...

The music store I used to manage had a policy where we would at least give you store credit if it was open- and I'd hope most retail stores are like that. However, I'm willing to bet the workers at the retail store don't even know it's dual disk- especially with them stocking literally hundreds of CDs as fast as possible on Tuesday mornings.

The RIAA has really angered me in general. Not only are they shooting themselves in the foot by alienating customers, they're also shooting their artists by keeping their music out of the hands of consumers.

jto said...

Yeah, I guess although I've always sort of abstractly thought they were playing the whole situation really stupidly, they had't done anything to really personally tick me off until now.

Anyway, so I noticed iTunes Music Store is selling this exact album for half the price. Sheesh. I spent my B&N store credit today on some books for James.