Monday, July 09, 2007

note to labels: stop watermarking your discs if you want people to review them!

[Uncle Lyor DOES NOT want you to listen to this CD]

So in the 11 years or so that I've been writing, I've seldom had problems with Copy Protected CDs. Even in the wake of the new Watermarking system that labels have put in place, I've found ways around them so I could begin to listen to the discs for review. About a week and a half ago, I received a promo of the new Eisley album, "Combinations," which was watermarked. I didn't really see this as a problem since my promo copy of their debut, "Room Noises," was also watermarked and I was actually able to upload the batch onto my iTunes.

This morning, I decided to listen to "Combinations," so I brought in my archaic portable CD player, just in case it didn't work on my computer (it didn't). And guess what? The stupid CD doesn't play in that either. As you may have seen in a previous post, watermarked discs also don't play in DVD players and car audio systems. So I ask you, Reprise/Warner Brothers, "Where am I supposed to listen to this CD that you want me to review?"

I'm not sure if Eisley is a priority to their label since they can't even release a playable promo, then again, Reprise is also the same label responsible for giving us a third Used album, so maybe they don't even have their fingers on the pulse of contemporary pop music.

Perhaps Reprise is aware that even though I had a promo of "Room Noises," complete with a bonus track, I went out and bought the CD anyway to have a real copy with artwork. Perhaps they thought that I would do the same with this Eisley album.

Well played, Reprise, well played.

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At 5:19 PM , Blogger Adam Bernard said...

Wow, I've never come across that issue in my 7+ years of writing about music, but I do enjoy the stickers that say if we can't handle the responsiblity of not bootlegging the album to tell the label and send it back.

I'm also a big fan of the "we'll say your name on the track" form of anti-piracy drops. Way to make us feel important whlie annoying us!

At 6:23 PM , Blogger jon arnold said...

I agree, that is incredibly annoying. If I can offer some hope to the hopeless, the label I work for (Yes, a major) has implemented a system of digital promo copies. Basically, you're e-mailed a link that prompts you to download the album right off the Interwebs.

It's really nice because it's still watermarked (via DRM), but end users can choose between AAC or WMA files, allowing the PC dorks to be PC dorks and the Mac people to, well, be cool.

This eliminates all the worry and fuss of actually having to be mailed a physical promo, open it up, and have it not work. It's quick, it's easy, and the promo copy will work on an iPod, if one so chooses.

Plus, I know for a fact that a .wma or .m4a file will play on my computer, thus allowing critics and retailers the ability to hear our self-indulgent drivel of pop and rock music. I know you're excited.

At 7:44 PM , Blogger Rob G. said...

What was really fun was doing radio and getting these discs that wouldn't play on our decks (all less than 2 years old) and wouldn't rip for putting a show together on Sound Forge. I always loved telling promoters, yeah, the reason I'm not playing your CD is I physically can't.

At 4:24 PM , Blogger nathan said...

Well... yes, I agree that it IS annoying how limiting the discs are, but sadly with the state of the music industry, you can't deny that advances uploading to the web isn't an issue. Funny though, I play my watermarks in my car and on various stereo systems. On the up side, you WILL find an increase in digital watermarks very soon, I can assure. My only regret is that in such trying times everyone in the music industry right now can't be a tad more supportive and understanding when it comes to saving music. Watermarks suck, I know, I have to deal with them all day long. Next time just ask your friendly publicity dept to send yours digital.

At 2:54 PM , Blogger Eric Grubbs said...

My response is here:


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