For good, legal sound!

We don't accept poor quality DVDs - why should we accept poor sound quality on CDs or other digital formats?

I'm worried... The first copy protected CDs are out, and the way they do their trick simply sucks. Take "cactus" method as an example. Just destroy the music data so that most (!) CD players just try to guess the missing sound data, and most of the computer CD-ROM players can't even read the data (and potentially copy it).

This whole method sucks big time. The problem itself may be right from the legal perspective, but the solution is not. Music or video should never, ever be limited, connected to the device they are played back with. It's all about the total experience - not about some particular CD-player model being able to understand the given music/video format. Especially, if this format destroys the audio quality the way e.g. Cactus does! It's simply unacceptable.

Rights... There are rights we should honor. The copyrights, and the rights of the consumer, the one who finally pays his/her money for the given media. This is not a question of piracy only. Some people do, and will pirate music, video and software. For the great majority, however, it's a question of perceived value.

People don't automatically choose the pirated alternative. That happens when you don't really care about what you're doing. There's a lot of music, for example, that doesn't really touch anyone's heart - many of the commercial hit singles. They're fun for a while, but the artists are kind of anonymous, just paper dolls taken to public for a while to make money for themselves ant their record labels. Okay; it's business, isn't it? But the customers aren't stupid, either - at least, some of them.

How many people do pirate Bruce Springsteen's music..? I would claim that most of the people who enjoy Bruce's music, also respect the man and his works so much that they are willing to pay the (reasonable) price for legal CDs or DVDs. The ones who don't, might never be potential customers anyway.

The very fact that we, the ordinary customers and buyers of music and video, are all labeled as potential thieves, pisses me, and I believe, many of us, off. I do respect Natalia Imbruglia, and I was actually close to purchasing her latest CD. After checking the CD, and seeing that it was copy protected with "cactus" method that wouldn't let me listen to it with my computer's CD-ROM drive, I didn't buy it. It's a shame for Natalia and her great music - but I won't support technologies that dictate me how I can use my music and video. After all, the artists and the record companies have their rights - but so do we, the consumers.

This will become interesting; if, for example, the quality of digital music/video sold in the internet, doesn't meet the standards the consumers expect, many people will vote with their wallets. No matter how many magazines and websites state that some 128 kbps MP3 quality (or comparable) is perfectly enough for most customers, I shall never, ever pay my money for that sort of crap. 128 kbps may sound almost okay if you don't demand a lot, and don't listen to your music with high-fidelity systems.

256 kbps? Well, that's another story. We have witnessed CD-quality, and that's what we want - or more. The music industry will face interesting challenges in the near future. Most of us don't really care about music; for them, even CD-format was too good. For a minority, however, even CD wasn't good enough. With tomorrow's technology, it's possible to provide all of us exactly what we need - and what we're willing to pay for...
Written by: Tommi Hietavuo
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