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Music Technology

Sony – Doing Their Best To Drive Their Customers Away, One Rootkit At A Time

Let’s first posit that you’re a multinational corporation with vast and sundry interests in various industries, including the music business. Let’s then posit that you were caught installing highly dubious software on your customers’ PCs in order to prevent “piracy”. What would you do if someone discovered that your “solution” to the problems you’ve caused your customers very well might cause their PCs to crash? Would you make it even more difficult for your customers to even discover the fact that you’ve illegally installed software on their PCs, let alone uninstall said software?
Would it surprise you if a reputable anti-virus vendor classified your disgusting anti-consumer software as “spyware”? Would it further surprise you if the state of California slapped your hide with a class-action lawsuit?
Sheesh. Do these record execs not realize that they’re actually driving customers away by the thousands? The Lesson of all this: buy your music from iTunes, kiddies.
(Want to find out if you’ve been infected? Check this list or this journal entry on Slashdot.)

12 replies on “Sony – Doing Their Best To Drive Their Customers Away, One Rootkit At A Time”

After teh Beastie Boys last album had some anti-piracy tags in it, their fans were outraged. The group that basically initiated the world of dubbing was infecting listeners computers with anti-piracy programs! Luckily I found out about it before I put it in the computer to check out the media additions on the CD. Henceforth I do not put CD’s in computers, no matter how grand the multimedia is, you never know who is putting what in the scripts.

No kidding. All Windows users should have AutoRun set to “off” for just these sorts of situations.
Just how stupid do the music companies think we are? How much crap do they think we’ll take?

This is blowing up – big. CNN.com has a story on a new trojan using the sony backdoor. As a Cnet “reporter” said, “Now the public will finally be forced to learn what a root kit means to them…”.
There are a number of ways this can go, and most of them are definitively ANTI Sony, and some of them end up very good. This good very well end up being the watershed moment where the consumers start to get their fair use back. It may also force a break of any mega-corp that has the ability to both create/distribute content and sell items that can read/display such content.
It’s a shame that it came from Sony – they are really hurting from the likes of Samsung and LG, as well as others. They do have some good stuff, but I think they are now DOOMED doomed.

I like iTunes but I’m not sure buying all your music there is a good idea. They also incorporate DRM into their files and Apple has already retroactively changed what rights you have to the Music (e.g. reduced # of times you can burn a particular playlist). I think you’re better off finding music you like that is sold without any DRM. Magnatune.com is one place that comes to mind for that.

Well, Will Lawton CDS sold at cdbaby.com have no such spyware on them. They cost a mere $10 online or $5 in person and won’t crash your CPU. I know this because not only am I a Will Lawton CD owner, I’m also Will Lawton.

Mark:
Good points. I was primarily holding iTunes up as a model for the future. You’re right, though. Their DRM procedures are obnoxious, just less so than Sony’s “let’s hose with people’s machines” tactics.
I wish that bands would realize that, in the vast majority of cases, their interests lie in not signing deals with major labels and, instead, distributing their music for free/minimal fees online and then depending on performance revenues for an ongoing income stream. 97% of the artists out there will make far, far more money that way. As a beneficial side effect, they’ll kill off the anti-consumer companies in the process.

Changing the paradigm from content to performance also kills the whole piracy/bootlegging issues right from the start. What difference does it make if someone distributes a “tape” they made at your concert if you:
1) charged them money to attend in the first place, and
2) are already essentially giving away your music in other forums.
Of course, the record companies won’t exactly say “Sure, that sounds dandy. Johnson, make it happen…”

Bootlegging is like taking a disposable camera picture of the Mona Lisa. Sure, you can see it, but it really doesn’t represent what the artist intended. Musicians usually don’t mind bootlegging for that reason. You are still likely to buy the CD if you happen to have the live version.
Peformance revenues do not let you make the big bucks. You only get rich by selling your music. Music sales increase your fan base and therefore allow you to front the money required to rent the larger music halls. This argument of course is under the assumption that musicians are in it for the money.
From a more personal standpoint. I would not want bastardized versions of my work (mp3s, itunes, bootlegs) to be the only medium available. I work way too hard in the studio creating the best sound and catching the vibe of the music for it to be lost. I also don’t want someone stealing from me. As much as I want my music heard, shouldn’t a real fan be happy to pay? Why wouldn’t you want to support your local artist?
On a side, please refrain from using bogus statistics in a debate. I’m surprised Andy did not call you on that one considering your harsh rebuttal to his groundless argument.

Wait, what bogus statistics? What groundless argument? I”m a bit confused…
As to this:

Peformance revenues do not let you make the big bucks. You only get rich by selling your music. Music sales increase your fan base and therefore allow you to front the money required to rent the larger music halls. This argument of course is under the assumption that musicians are in it for the money.

I’d rephrase that. “Some get rich by selling [their] music.” Most artists don’t see anywhere near a healthy monetary output from their deals with the corporate devils. The music co.’s find all sorts of ways to show artists that their albums actually cost the company money, so they should be happy with what they get. The Gwen Stefanis and 50 Cents of the world, in large part, subsidize the other artists.
If you’re concerned about your art, self-manage. Yes, you’ll be playing to smaller venues, but you’ll own your soul and your songs when push comes to shove. Build a loyal fanbase and a recurring revenue stream and you’ll be infinitely happier than if you sign a loaded contract with a multinational music chattel slavery house. If you’re in it for the money, well, write a catchy hook, hope to get noticed, and buy your Bentley when BMG tosses you a contract.

“Statistics can be manipulated to proove anything. 43% of the population knows that…”
The Bootlegging bit was more about enforcement – Every professional concert event that I have ever been to has made it VERY clear that recording equiment of any kind is not permitted. Whether or not that is at the artists behest is not in question – someone had made it so.
I also see your Chicken-or-Egg arguement regarding income for artists. You can’t go on a multi-million dollar concert tour if you don’t have any income to finance it…
Also as an aside, which harsh rebuttal to which groundless arguement?

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