Written by Music

Copy Control

Can I just say here and now that I think EMI are idiots. Complete buffoons. I foolishly made the mistake of buying the new Norah Jones album on Friday – but despite being a fine collection of music, I really can’t recommend that anyone else should buy it.
EMI have been using their Copy Control mechanism on CDs for sometime now, and I’ve been avoiding buying any of their CDs that employ it. But I missed the large notice on the rear, and front spine on Friday.
The problems started when I tried to play it on my PC. I know, I know. But I still wanted to have a listen at my computer. I also wanted to copy it onto my minidisc player. The “CD” (it’s not a CD) launches its own player which uses a pre-encoded soundfile at a massive 128k to play on the PC.
My Sony “Sonic Stage” software refused to read the CD – preventing me copying directly to minidisc. “Simple Burner” – another MD copying program – did it, but as once I listened to the resulting tracks I realised they clicked and popped throughout. Result – unlistenable.
The various bits of ripping software that I have scattered around, like dbPoweramp and CDex all read a ripped the CD, but they also read all the deliberate errors.
After much faffing around, I finally used a program called Easy CD-EA Extractor as suggested here and finally I had WAV files that were listenable.
Why on earth should I have to go to all this trouble to listen to some music that I’ve bought? This doesn’t stop piracy. It positively encourages it. I like to think of myself as pretty clued on these things, but if even I have to jump through so many hoops to get audio off a CD I’ve bought and onto a portable listening device, then I feel for the average consumer. Save the hassle and download the album seems to be the message they’re giving out.
Norah Jones is going to sell CDs by the bucket load. I look around my place of work and see all the people who’ve bought iPods, and despair at the thought of them trying to get their music onto their portable machines.
So that’s the last EMI CD I buy until they ditch this stupid mechanism. And the more record companies that employ this protection, the fewer CDs I will buy.
The really stupid thing is that any CD can be pirated one way or another. I can record from the digital out of a CD player to whatever medium. And once it’s out there, it’s out there.
Supposedly, EMI are in trouble at the moment. Copy Control is not going alleviate this.