Record Labels Come Up With Another Physical Format You Don't Want Or Need
from the upgrade-time dept
Despite the entertainment industry’s constant claim that they can’t sell content when people can get it for free from file-sharing networks, there are plenty of ways they can (and already do) “compete with free”: convenience, legitimacy, or simply offering consumers better value for their money. To that end, Warner Music is planning to start selling music on DVD, with a bunch of added content in addition to the music tracks. This isn’t the same as DVD-Audio or DualDisc, but yet another format being foisted on the public. The DVDs would contain albums mixed in stereo and surround sound, as well as added video content and other digital extras that could be accessed on a computer. Bundling additional content with the music is an idea that sounds good in theory, but the WSJ article is short on details, and forgive us for expecting the record labels to follow through on this in their usual way: maximum inconvenice for marginal benefit. The biggest drawback is that the DVDs obviously can’t be played in CD players — Warner’s workaround to this is to put “pre-ripped” digital copies of the song on the DVD that users could copy to a computer, then burn to a CD. That’s fine — if they’re of sufficient quality and aren’t encumbered with all sorts of copy protection and DRM, but we’re not holding our breath, since apparently Warner is in talks with Apple to somehow use its DRM on the “pre-ripped” tracks, which makes it sound like you can forget playing them on any non-iPod digital music player. Of course, the DVDs will carry a higher price tag than current CDs, so any idea that this new format could offer better value might go out the window, too. Another issue is the labels’ continued insistence on trying to find another physical format to sell people, instead of putting more effort into making online digital distribution work.