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for February 12, 2002

There's The Business Case, And Then There's Reality
by Sean Carolan

Once again, I'm forced to post a link to the Cluetrain Manifesto as a prelude to another story featuring a company that forgets that their customers can talk to each other.

This time, the lucky winner is BMG Music, who decided the new Natalie Imbruglia record (this one without a song that has any tangential relationship with The Cure) should be released with a copy protection scheme called Cactus Data Shield. While it's intended to make copying the CD difficult if not impossible, it also has the following misguided effect: the better a CD player you have, the worse the disc sounds. And it's not just because of Natalie.

(Okay, that's a potshot; she's actually kinda cute, and she's not a bad singer for an Austrailian soap opera actress. But anyway...)

Now, repeat after me: If you change the bits and bytes on a CD that get turned into music so that they serve some other purpose, the music itself will ultimately sound less and less like music, and more and more like something other than music. Or, to put it more elegantly, garbage in, garbage out.

Fine, say the folks behind this decision, the consumers won't notice. Most of them have cheap stereos anyway, and the audiophiles aren't listening to Natalie Imbruglia. Right?

Someday, companies will remember that there are customers, and then there are vocal customers. While the vocal customers may make up an iota of the group they're trying to sell things to, they're also the ones that recommend products to everyone else.

And they're not happy. Sorry, Natalie.

©2002 Sean Carolan

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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ALTROK recommends music once a week; here's our most recent choices. Most links will take you to a place where you can buy the music; if there's no link, and you own a record company, consider releasing it yourself...

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Everything Everything - Photoshop Handsome
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Julian Plenti - Games For Days
Los Campesinos - The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future (Free download!)
Miike Snow - Black & Blue

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