Well I really don't need the confusion,
And you know I just ain't the type,
To get all wrapped up in the illusion,
Of doing something that I know ain't right.
You've got to know to rearrange and keep it
Off the record, off the record.
You've got to know that we will change and keep it
Off the record, off the record. Come on.
My Morning Jacket's follow-up to their universally acclaimed 2003 album It Still Moves features a significant departure from that album's more countrified jams with the recent release Z, which includes such coolly original tracks as "Wordless Chorus", "It Beats 4 U", and "Off the Record". Unfortunately, I can't recommend this album. Because I wouldn't want you to buy it. It is available at iTunes, and I'd strongly recommended downloading the tracks you want. But buying it? Bad move.
You see, Z is one of a number of recent releases from Sony BMG which includes malicious embedded software called XCP technology, which when loaded on your computer, will automatically install nasty little programs called "rootkits" on Windows-based machines that can slow down operating systems, leave hard drives open to viruses, and transmit information back to Sony about the user's listening and web-surfing habits. Yeah, that's what I want on my new computer. And worst of all, the anti-piracy software that causes all of these problems also prevents the tracks from being transferred to iPods. Well done, Sony. A brilliant move of anti-marketing if I've ever seen one.
So after the significant backlash resulting from the discovery of this crap, Sony BMG has agreed to discontinue the use of XCP technology on new discs. Of course, according to The New York Times, 2.1 million CDs with the damaging malware encrypted have already been sold, out of a total of 4.7 million CDs shipped to stores. The ones currently in stores? Yeah, they won't be recalled. A class action suit in California against the record label is pending.
Sony released a statement on Friday about the controversy: "We deeply regret any possible inconvenience this may cause. We stand by content protection technology as an important tool to protect our intellectual property rights and those of our artists." Yes, the classic non-apology apology. Were Bush's speechwriters involved?
Of course the bigger question is why do record labels continue to be so obsessed about "digital rights management" to the point of complete paranoid myopia that results in them basically planting viruses on their customers' computers (probably not planned) and not letting them listen to their artists' music on the biggest new music delivery discovery since the CD was invented, the iPod (definitely planned). I mean, it's like GM says I want to sell you this car, but we're putting in a chip so that you are the only one who can drive it, and you can only use certain roads to drive on, and we're going to track where you go and everything you do. Wouldn't you just buy a Toyota instead? Or fucking steal a car? Because damn, if I bought Z - which I was strongly considering before this fiasco, I'd be pretty pissed right now. Well more so than I currently am at least. So fuck them. Here's two My Morning Jacket songs available for download right here.
And here's a list of recently available CDs that have the XCP technology embedded. Don't buy them. And if you already bought them, don't put them on your computer. And if you already did that, well you're fucked if you've got a Windows computer. Microsoft says it will be coming out with a patch to fix the problem created by Sony soon. So wait for that. And then find out if you can sue these fuckers too. I mean, if you had to listen to Celine Dion, apparently in French, isn't that punishment enough? Do you need your computer fucked up too?
Trey Anastasio - Shine
Celine Dion - On ne Change Pas
Neil Diamond - 12 Songs
Our Lady Peace - Healthy in Paranoid Times
Chris Botti - To Love Again
Van Zant - Get Right With the Man
Switchfoot - Nothing Is Sound
The Coral - The Invisible Invasion
Acceptance - Phantoms
Susie Suh - Susie Suh
Amerie - Touch
Life of Agony - Broken Valley
Horace Silver Quintet - Silver's Blue
Gerry Mulligan - Jeru
Dexter Gordon - Manhattan Symphonie
The Bad Plus - Suspicious Activity
The Dead 60s - The Dead 60s
Dion - The Essential Dion
Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten
Ricky Martin - Life
My Morning Jacket - Z *
Santana - All That I Am *
Sarah McLachlan - Bloom Remix Album *
* features copy-protection technology that is not XCP, but still suspect