Recently, more and more CDs are being protected by voice-overs to prevent these albums from leaking to the public before the official release date. The voice-overs are pretty effective, but there is a downside, they start to annoy reviewers and even start to affect album ratings.
“WARNING: All songs on this promo CD are voice-over protected to avoid any piracy and illegal file uploading on the internet before the release date”
This is the message printed on the cover of protected CDs. Most filesharers are probably familiar with the “for your consideration” messages displayed in DVDscreeners, but similar messages on CDs are less known. The voice overs do their job, because of their inferior quality none of these albums are uploaded to the Internet. However, they also make it harder for the reviewers to do their job if the music fades out every other minute, and it’s starting to annoy them.
For example, take the review of Steve Lukather’s latest album on Komodo Rock, which was published earlier this week. Lukather is the guitarist from the well known band Toto, and his new album is set for release on February 22nd. The reviewer rated the album 2.2 out of 10, but not because it was a bad album. On the contrary: “What I’ve heard of this album is actually pretty damn good, very emotional, very mood driven, and had the potential to be a truly great album”, he writes.
So why the negative rating? The reviewer on Komodo Rock explains: “Well there’s no chocolate here, but what we have instead is a disembodied voice telling me what I already know, and destroying all the hard work Steve Lukather has put into this album. I’m all for protecting the rights of artists and labels, but this is not the way to do it, this is not a solution, this is a request to reviewers to ignore what their ears tell them and imagine what this album sounds like.”
We asked the reviewer about the prevalence of the voice-overs, and he told TorrentFreak: “The first track on the album is clear of all voice overs, so the first time this appears is at the 1:16 of track 2. It then repeats again at the 3 minute mark, and then one last time at 4:48. This track is 5:53 in length. This then continues throughout the album in this way, apart from track 8 which again is clear of all voice overs.”
The movie and the music industry are treating their own people as thieves now. Last week we reported about a 17 year Oscar screening veteran, who resigned because he had enough of being treated like a criminal. Similarly, the annoying voice-over anti-piracy messages are becoming a thorn in the side of music reviewers. Perhaps the entertainment industry should focus more on adapting to new technologies, and offering consumers some alternatives, instead of protecting their outdated business models.