Any Which Way But Loose

It seems that the music industry can't make up their minds about computers and CDs. First, the record companies ignored the industry. When they finally took notice, they decide that playing CDs on computers was a bad thing, implemented various copy protection mechanisms, and even went so far as to willfully crash computers when users attempted to play CDs. Now, a new technology bundled on CDs would provide record companies with "virtually any information you want to know about your fan."

The technology is called Bandlink, and for the moment, it's not clear how many major labels are participating. However, Santana's latest album from Arista Artists will include the technology. The Bandlink technology is patent-pending, but then, what isn't now-a-days. Bandlink, the company, refers to Bandlink, the technology, as "extreme market research."

To the user, Bandlink looks like a souped up CD player that pops up when they play the CD. Behind the scenes, Bandlink can do everything from gathering CD usage activity on a track by track basis to interrupting your work or listening experience to conduct surveys. This all happens by communicating personal data between your computer and the Bandlink servers. Of course, they call it "collect[ing] demographic information."

This, of course, begs the question, "How much personal freedom and privacy do we have to give up just to listen to a CD?" Hopefully, this is just a bad marketing idea with too much venture capital. On the positive side, perhaps the music industry is coming to the realization that they can't just ignore new technology and consumer demand.


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