Known Johnson

October 2, 2006

Dualdiscs die!

Filed under: Music — Tom @ 3:56 pm

I predicted it long ago when they emerged and wreaked (wroke?) havoc on people’s CD players, but the day has finally come: Sony’s wretched DualDisc platform is on its deathbed! Why this couldn’t have happened a year ago before the Talking Heads remasters were released, I’ll never understand – but I bet Rhino will use this as an excuse to reissue the set in a year or so as CDs with separate DVDs (as they were issued in Europe.)

Unfortunately, Warner Music Group hasn’t learned from this stupid mistake of Sony’s and is planning on unveiling music-only DVDs next year – that’s right, DVDs that play only music and will contain some video content. Hmm, anyone see a problem here? Say, car CD players? Or portability in general? Oh, sure, they claim there will be some form of compressed audio files on the disc for your portable digital player, but you know what you’re going to get, don’t you – DRM-encrypted Windows Media Audio files that won’t play in Ipods and in Microsoft’s upcoming Zune (because Microsoft has cut all ties to its PlaysForSure program that they themselves started – yet another reason not to get behind anything Microsoft has to offer in this arena.) Once again, the labels are working very hard to make things as difficult and unpleasant as possible for consumers to simply enjoy their choices in entertainment – and turning them toward the illegal means of getting easy ways to enjoy it. Guaranteed – when the music-only DVDs hit the streets (and they will reportedly not have CD counterparts) someone will get the audio off of them and spread it far and wide. For free.



  1. Why don’t you buy the music from iTunes and make your own CDs?

    Comment by Bekah — October 3, 2006 @ 8:32 am | Reply

  2. Several reasons: First, Itunes sells only files that have been compressed using a lossy scheme that is detrimental to sound quality. I did a lot of testing before I settled on what sound quality rip my audio at and found that the standard that Apple uses for ITMS is too low (128kbs AAC files, if you’re curious.) One step higher and it was acceptable, but they don’t offer anything other than that. It’s a purely financial move on their part – they are getting away with the bare minimum that they can. There are a lot of music fans who won’t buy from the download stores because of the quality. Nearly two years later, I still have never bought or downloaded anything from Itunes.

    Second, it’s a not a good deal. 99 cents per song is almost always a much higher price than it would be to buy the CD*. And once I have the CD, I can do anything I want with it – forever. If my hard drive dies, I can simply re-rip the discs, as unpleasant as that may be. Itunes won’t be so forgiving – I’d have to re-buy everything. Keeping backups is a possibility, but so far I’ve yet to back up the 140gb of music that I have . . .

    *Don’t forget buying used via Amazon and – I buy a large amount of stuff used and save a lot doing so. Even buying a whole CD for $3 for 3 songs is a better deal than buying just those 3 songs on Itunes

    Third: many of the things that I listen to aren’t even available on Itunes or any of the other stores.

    Fourth: packaging, liner notes, etc. I guess this is superfluous material to some, but it’s absolutely necessary to me and many others. They keep saying that downloads are the future but they also said that vinyl was dead – and vinyl is a back with a vengance. Downloads will definitely be the main marketing niche for most popular music – singles and such – but the album in tangible form will live on, especially in jazz and metal because those listeners covet the music in that format and want something real to hold on to.

    And, frankly, as I’ve gotten older, I’m finding less and less time to deal with devices – it’s just easier to grab a disc on my way out the door sometimes than sit down with my Ipod, find the album, load the songs, disconnect it, and then finally go. I think that the download market is going to be aimed at the young for a long time – someday it’ll be the primary market, but we’re talking 10-20 years in the future. Where downloading/streaming is really going to be effective is movies – I can easily see calling up a movie to play rather than renting something. That would be a great thing to me – I don’t want to own movies, but I want to see lots of them.

    Comment by Tom — October 3, 2006 @ 10:19 am | Reply

  3. I couldn’t agree more!!!

    Comment by Tom Conley — October 3, 2006 @ 10:31 am | Reply

  4. Where downloading/streaming is really going to be effective is movies – I can easily see calling up a movie to play rather than renting something.

    That’s called Pay-Per View.

    iTunes now has movies available and you can watch them on your computer or video iPod, but the screen is so damn tiny it’s not fun to watch, at least to me. With Pay-Per View you can Tivo it and watch it when you want to AND it’s on your television, not the little iPod screen.

    Comment by Bekah — October 3, 2006 @ 2:50 pm | Reply

  5. Nah, I mean any movie you want to see. PPV is only the 6-8 movies they have available at the moment. Apple’s “Box,” which I think is what they’re actually going to call it when it comes out next spring, is the next logical step toward this – it takes the movies you can download from Itunes and streams them to your TV. Pretty cool – only problem is you’re still paying full price for movies that have none of the features that you get when you actually buy movies (behind the scenes footage, etc – one-time view things, but perks nonetheless to buying rather than downloading.)

    When they get to a subscription service like Netflix where you just pick a film and it downloads to your TV and you aren’t paying $15 a piece, then I’ll be interested – and I think most people will be. We’re getting close, but not quite yet. Give it 5 years, I think that’s when we’ll start seeing this kind of thing start to become widespread.

    Comment by Tom — October 3, 2006 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

  6. […] Trey Anastasio – Bar 17: Poor Trey – not only did he get wrapped up in dealing with a major label last year with Shine, he also had to deal with the double-whammy of two decidedly non-fan friendly formats that Columbia insisted on releasing the album through – the shoddy DualDisc format and the now notorious virus-laden copy-protected discs put out by head company Sony. The album suffered on all fronts – the music sounds like it had been relentlessly tampered with until it no longer sounded natural and free, like Phish’s music did – the very aspect his fans enjoyed about their music and wanted to hear him continue to produce in his own music. Well, a year later, Anastasio has fled Columbia for his own label, Sony has been sued numerous times for its copy-protection, and DualDisc is on its death-bed, and we’re all better for it. Trey has put together exactly the kind of album in Bar 17 that fans were expecting with Shine – exuberant and light-hearted, yet serious in the right places. It’s everything that Shine struggled to be. (Psst! If you act quick, you can still snag a copy from Trey’s site with the free 9-song bonus disc.) […]

    Pingback by Known Johnson | you guessed it, Frank Stallone! » Blog Archive » Overlooked Alternatives: Trey Anastasio, the Decemberists, Pernice Brothers — October 3, 2006 @ 11:47 pm | Reply

  7. When it’s a subscription service for the Box, they’ll probably delete the movies after a certain amount of time, or not allow you to download new ones without deleting the old ones… I don’t think they’d make much money if they’d allow you to keep the movies that you’ve downloaded and keep getting more if it’s a subscription like Netflix.

    Comment by Bekah — October 4, 2006 @ 9:22 am | Reply

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