Aardvark Daily aardvark (ard'-vark) a controversial animal with a long probing nose used for sniffing out the facts and stimulating thought and discussion.

NZ's leading source of Net-Industry news and commentary since 1995
Headlines | XML feed | Contact | New Sites | Archives | Job Centre | MARKETPLACE | For Sale
Note: This column represents the opinions of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact
The Solution to CD Piracy 4 September 2002 Edition
Previous Edition | Archives

Please support the sponsor
Sponsor's Message
Previously I've written a number of columns about the issue of music piracy, the general dullardry of the recording industry, the lameness of shonky CD-based copy-protection schemes, etc, and most of these have been fairly negative.

Today I'm going to offer a positive suggestion to the industry that could well be a way to address the CD piracy problem.

According to the industry itself, the cost of CD piracy has been estimated at around US$5 billion a year and it's claimed that $95 million of that unauthorised copying takes place here in NZ (ref: NZ Herald story).

Locally, that represents about $23.75 for every man woman and child in NZ -- or perhaps $100 per household.

Coincidentally there was a news story on the wires this week which reported how a number of major music labels were getting behind DataPlay, a new disc-based music format with built in digital rights management (DRM) controls that would make the pirate's job much harder.

Even though the industry's spin-doctors have been hard at work, prompting news stories like this, there is still a big problem -- how do you convince the public to forego the traditional music CD for this new format?

After all -- we all have CD players (some of us have several) and chances are we've got several hundred (or thousand) dollars worth of music in standard Compact Disk format already.

Readers Say
(updated irregularly)
  • my stance on CD piracy... - Anon
  • DataPlay... - Grant
  • xbox and world domination... - Robert
  • Subsidising Dataplay... - Matt
  • missing the point!... - Robert
  • Have Your Say

    Okay, so the new media is smaller and has several other advantages from a consumer's perspective -- but it's more expensive and the players/recorders are also nearly four times as pricey as your average CD player or CDR/RW drive.

    Let's face it -- this bird isn't going to fly and poses about as much of a threat to the regular CD as the Sony MindiDisc does -- ie: next to none.

    Of course the music industry could try and force us into this new format by only releasing new albums on it and not CD -- but that would likely cause a massive decline in total sales and it would only encourage pirates to invest more time, money and effort in cracking the DRM so that these new disks could be transferred to CDR.

    But what about this for an idea...

    Why not use the same business model that Microsoft are using for the Xbox?

    Yes, that's right -- sell the players at well below the cost of manufacture and make the money from the software (in this case -- the music).

    If, as the recording industry claims, they're losing around $100 worth of sales per year per Kiwi household to piracy -- why not invest that much money in subsidising the cost of these new players?

    On a global scale, US$5 billion would subsidise a hell of a lot of DataPlay hardware wouldn't it?

    Imagine if a DataPlay player/recorder was cheaper than a a CD player or CDR/RW drive -- wouldn't that, along with the other benefits of the DataPlay format, encourage you to consider buying one?

    Of course it would also help if albums released on DataPlay disks was somewhat cheaper than the same music on CD, and it would be even better if people could swap their old CD-based album collection for the same titles on DataPlay disks for just a nominal sum to cover the media and handling costs ($2-$5 per disk?)

    Instead of cowering in fear and shouting about the sky falling, maybe it's time that the recording industry took a look at the marketing tactics of Gillette, inkjet printer makers, Microsoft and a raft of other very successful companies who long ago realised that it's often worth subsidising the initial purchase in order to tie your customers to a new platform. Once you've hooked them then you can bleed them dry by selling the high-margin component of the product.

    So there you have it folks -- a proven marketing model that could easily be applied to the recording industry's problem and which would effectively cost them nothing to implement.

    If we don't see heavily subsidised DataPlay hardware and titles appearing soon then all I can think is that the industry's claims in respect to the sales lost to piracy have been greatly exagerated -- and nobody likes a liar do they?

    Have your say.

    Linking Policy
    Want to link to this site? Check out Aardvark's Linking Policy.

    Did you tell someone else about Aardvark today? If not then do it now!

    Security Alerts
    Microsoft reveals security hole (NewsFactor - 02/09/2002)

    Microsoft plugs critical Office holes
    (ITWorld - 22/08/2002)

    Security flaw hits Windows, Mac, Linux (NewsFactor - 7/08/2002)

    PGP Outlook plugin has major hole (TheReg - 12/07/2002)

    IE scripting flaw uncovered (TheReg - 12/07/2002)

    Virus Alerts
    Worm spreads through KaZaA network, again (TheReg - 22/08/2002)

    Apher worm: From Russia (ZDNet - 22/08/2002)

    Kowbot worm targets Kazaa network
    (VNuNet - 01/07/2002)

    Bookmark This Page Now!


    NZL Sites
    NZ Netguide
    NZ Herald Tech
    PC World NZ
    NZOOM Technology WordWorx

    AUS Sites
    Fairfax IT
    Australian IT
    AUS Netguide
    NineMSN Tech
    APC Magazine

    USA Sites
    CNNfn Tech
    Yahoo Tech
    ZDNet Tech
    USA Today Tech
    7am.com SciTech

    UK Sites
    The Register
    BBC SciTech


    My Jet Engines
    Check Out Me And My Jet Engines

    The Day's Top News
    Open in New Window = open in new window
    New Zealand

    Open in New Window Customer spamming lands Orcon in hot water again
    Auckland ISP Orcon Internet is in the firing line of anti-spammers after a bulk email with a reference to one of its customers went out to recipients worldwide...

    Open in New Window New personnel at Maori Internet Society
    The New Zealand Maori Internet Society has elected its second interim chairperson in a month following the sudden resignation of Bernadette Murray for personal reasons...


    Open in New Window New 'entertainment' PCs restrict copying
    Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday released additional details about digital entertainment PCs coming for the holidays. But new anti-copying technology could hamper sales...

    Open in New Window Greek govt bans all computer games
    The government of Greece is making heroic efforts to humiliate the nation in front of the entire world, by banning all electronic games...
    The Register

    Open in New Window MS Outlook digital sigs easily forged
    Digital signatures can easily be forged and therefore can't be trusted in Outlook because of the same certificate chaining issue plaguing Internet Explorer, researcher Mike Benham say...
    The Register

    Open in New Window Why FBI Computer Force Ain't Fat
    The finest hackers in the land can't work for the FBI even if they want to because of the agency's physical fitness requirements. A few other regulations are kind of tricky, too...

    Open in New Window Of PowerPoint and Pointlessness
    The number of teachers using PowerPoint presentations in class is on the rise. This raises a question among education theorists: What is the point?...


    Open in New Window Indians to staff software centre
    INDIAN software giant Infosys has undermined the Victorian Government's claims of 100 new programming jobs by revealing at least 60 of them will be filled by Indian expatriates...
    Australian IT

    Open in New Window McDonald's offers email with fries
    WOULD you like fries, a drink or internet access with that? Information technology may become a side order at McDonald's in Melbourne...
    Australian IT


    Open in New Window Labels loosening up on CD copy locks
    Fearful of consumer backlash, major record labels in the United States have slowed controversial plans for making CDs more difficult to copy, even as tension over online music piracy mounts...

    Open in New Window WinXP SP1 leaked, then unleaked again - or not?
    Windows XP Service Pack 1 seems to have been out for the past few hours and, contrary to our earlier report, remains out as of 4pm GMT. Sort of...
    The Register

    Open in New Window Children at mercy of e-mail porn
    Junk e-mail is becoming an increasing and uncontrollable menace, much of it pointing children to pornographic websites...

    Open in New Window Can Apple's Jaguar Break Windows?
    Smashing previous sales records for any operating system released by Apple, OS X version 10.2, code-named Jaguar, charged through the 100,000 mark on its recent release...

    Open in New Window Java hits obstacle with cell phones
    Java on mobile platforms is not living up to the promise of letting programmers "write once, run anywhere," according to developers gathered in London last week...

    Looking For More News or Information?

    Search WWW Search Aardvark

    Privacy Policy | Copyright © 2002, Bruce Simpson, republication rights available on request

    jet engine page