Many others have stated the argument for and against protecting music CDs. My personal position which has remained unchanged for the last 2 years or so since I ‘discovered’ MP3s, is that I will download a few tracks to see if I like them, and if I like enough tracks I will buy the CD.
I have ALWAYS operated a simple rule when purchasing CDs. I will not buy a CD until I’ve heard 3 tracks from it that I like. Considering a CD single is around £3.99 these days and most albums in the high-street cost around £12-15 then, well you do the maths.
Copy protection on CDs is all well and good (aside from the point that, as the owner of a CD, aren’t I allowed to make a copy for my own use?), but when the CDs themselves won’t work in some players then something is obviously wrong.
One side effect of all this is a weird kind of separation that is happening between artists and record labels. For example, if U2s next album was to be copy protected and it is known that this will stop the CD playing in some players, I’m guessing the band wouldn’t be too happy (guessing, as I still can’t get a handle on whether most bands would prefer a more open market letting the music do the ‘talking’ as it were). Yet as a music consumer, I’m not sure who I should blame for this, the artist? The record label execs?
As usual, and especially so in the UK, we are being screwed. It would be interesting if we could organise a world-wide boycott of CD purchasing for a week. Then the execs might realise just how much money we pump into their industry.