I love Coldplay. So it is with some sadness that I have to dedicate my first post of the new year to how they don’t understand the forces in play in media today.
A few months ago, I bought their CD X&Y. (It’s a great album.) The first thing I typically do when I buy a CD is to rip it to my laptop, so that I can (i) easily listen to music while I work, and (ii) have the album on my iPod. With X&Y, I could not do this.
Because, the DRM software on the CD does not allow you to copy it to a hard drive. They also let you know that this is "so that you can enjoy high quality music"… and, they only let you know about this once you’ve bought the CD (as BoingBoing points out). How can they be so short-sighted?
I got curious. Coldplay’s label is Capitol, who’s got a horrible flash website (a possible sign that they don’t get it either). Browsing their website, my eyes lit up: a link labeled "Downloads". I rush to see which songs of which artists are published… Hehe, the downloads are stupid e-cards, banners and wallpapers. Not a byte of sound!
On to Coldplay’s own website… They have a free members area, but with only samples of their music.
Now here’s the problem. I can not put this CD on my iPod, but someone (actually, many people) has and it’s easily available on the web. So what Coldplay has done is piss off a fan and force him to go and steal(!) when he’s already purchased the right to listen to this album.
Fred Wilson had ranted about the same issue, regarding Dave Matthews, so I know I am not alone in being pissed off.
The winners will be the content providers (read: artists) who understand how the consumers (read: fans) will increasingly control the mode of consumption.