“Friends say it’s fine
Friends say it’s good
Everybody says it’s just like rock and roll
I move like a cat
Charge like a ram
Sting like a bee
Babe I want to be your man
Well it’s plain to see
You were meant for me
Yea I’m your boy
Your 20th century toy…”


As I think has been made clear in this space before, I am woefully outdated when it comes to music technology. I accept that, and expect some inconvenience in life.


But when I decided recently to take out an old CD I bought twenty some years ago and give it a listen, only to hit an obsolete technology wall — I saw red. The culprit is something called “Enhanced CD,” a concept invented by Sony in the mid-1990s to try to stamp out CD piracy. It basically creates a technological middle man that must be engaged in order for you to listen to the CD you just bought — which was fine in 1996 or so, but by now that software is as woefully out of date as I am, and modern drivers can’t even read the files. There are no traditional audio files to access. This CD is now effectively a paper weight, or, as we used to do back when CD burners fried about every other CD, a shiny drink coaster.

But oh, you do not know the depth of my bitterness. So, thinking that I had, after all, purchased the CD in question back in the mid-1990s, I thought I’d just go on Amazon and buy a newly-made version, hopefully sans the old software. And I was wrong. The newly-minted copy still has the crappy old, unusable software. I get a message that says “This program or feature “xxxx.exe” cannot start or run due to incompatibility with 64 bit versions of Windows. Please contact the software vendor to see if there is a 64 bit version available.” (Hint: There isn’t.)

I would like to point out that in my collection of 1,000+ CDs, this is the only one (so far) I can’t actually listen to anymore.

For those old enough to have lived through the 70s and 80s, there is a natural, healthy and passionate hatred for the music industry — not the artists, but the record companies which insert themselves into the artist-customer relationship as very intrusive and expensive middle men. Turns out Sony’s attempts to forestall the digital future were for naught, as nobody but old fogies like me buy CDs anymore, which means nobody bothers pirating CDs anymore. But thanks for selling a CD to a legitimate customer that would only be playable for a few years!

I hope the next ten times they go bowling, they get 7-10 splits.