Tuesday, January 20, 2004


Ok - most of ya'll could give a flying $%() about the travails that a music journalist has to suffer through, but I really have to get this off my chest: labels and publicists really need to rethink this whole "copyright protected CDs" that won't play in anything besides a standard CD player (i.e. even MP3 equipped CD players won't work with these CDs). Yeah, I know that everyone is crazy paranoid about digital piracy but this is NOT the solution.

I barely know any critics who don't listen to CDs on a computer, or at least a device that that is MP3-enabled. That is the state of technology today and the fact that certain segments of the record industry don't seem to understand that is just the sort of example of how their fears are actually part of their undoing. Let's just point out that for some artists - who are in ACTUAL danger of being bootlegged out the wazoo (50 Cent anyone? Kanye West?) pre-release tons of their material on mix-CDs already. I won't bother naming the current advance that I just got in the mail that's giving me grief, but suffice to say, they are not a hip-hop group known to be in hot, hot demand along Canal St.

What's even more ridiculous is that they also watermarked the CD, meaning that if this were somehow to leak to the Internet, they could track it back to me - but I'm thinking: why are you watermarking a CD that can't even be loaded onto a computer to begin with?

Like I said, for most of you out there, this means absolutely nothing but it's making the job of journalists that much more difficult and it's actually probably harming the artist in the long run. If I can't easily listen to an album, it makes my enthusiasm for reviewing it that much less, especially when the artist in question isn't doing the kind of platinum numbers that warrants reviews everywhere. I mean, these cats in particular could really use more shine but I know that I won't be the only writer who decides, "eh, it's not worth the trouble." If you're at a record label or a publicist reading this - please seriously consider finding another way to protect your product. I have no problems with the desire to prevent rampant piracy but the current means is actually a far greater detriment than piracy itself.

Ok, rant over.