Why doesn't Universal Music want my business anymore?
From: Richard M. Smith
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2001 4:15 PM
Subject: Why doesn't Universal want my business anymore?
I have been a great customer of the music industry for more than
35 years, but I am now confused why Universal Music Group no longer
wants my business. Here's my situation. I store my entire CD
collection as MP3 files on a Nomad Jukebox from Creative Labs.
I use the unit both with my home stereo system and in my car.
I no longer have an audio CD player hooked up to my stereo.
The Nomad Jukebox can hold about 450 audio CDs. I like the
convenience of being able to carry around my entire CD collection
in a small 2-pound portable unit.
It currently is only about half full and I am the process of buying
more CDs to fill it up.
Today I purchased the CD "More Fast and Furious" from Universal
and was not able to use the ripping software on my PC to copy the
CD to my Nomad Jukebox. The problem, of course, is that the CD uses
the Cactus "protection" scheme which makes the CD unplayable by
computer music software by intentionally introducing defective
tracks on a CD. According to the sticker on the back-side CD cover,
the protection scheme is to prevent unauthorized copying. Of course,
as the owner of the CD, the one copy I want to make is completely legit.
I will be returning the CD to the Tower Records to get my money back.
However, I am concerned that if copy-protection of audio CDs catches
on, I will no longer be able to buy them. I really think that Universal
is being extremely short-sighted here by embracing copy-protection of
audio CDs. The move to digital music players is inevitable, and I
believe copy-protection schemes will simply force more people to illegal
The movie industry attempted to shut-down the VCR twenty years ago
because of similar concerns about wholesale copying of movies. Luckily
they failed in this effort and consumers and the industry now both enjoy
a whole new market for movies on prerecorded tapes.
My one plea with this email message is for Universal to stop using
copy-protection schemes on CDs. I don't believe it is good for the
consumer and will not work out either for Universal or the rest of
the music industry over the long haul.
Richard M. Smith