It wasn't until I blagged a promo copy of the Richard X album X-Factor Volume 1 that I had my first taste of this new format (they can't legally be called CDs because they aren't mastered to something called the Red Book standard). When I inserted the disc, not one but two CD volumes appeared on the desktop. One was the normal CD (with cdda files) and the other was titled AUDIO. This contained a simple audio player that (I guess) is meant to launch instead of iTunes. Nevertheless, the track files were read and ready to rip like any other CD. So much for Copy Control.
The first Copy Controlled disc I actually paid money for was The Neptunes Presents...Clones. I first twigged that this wasn't a CD when I tried to play it on a standard CD player. Not a cheap one - a Technics separate. The CD wasn't recognised. If music companies can't even make this bastard son of the CD work in standard players then why do they bother with the format at all? Even the ageing Windows PC I use at work had trouble the first time. A message flashed up saying "To listen to the CD a number of files need to be updated on your PC. Select OK to install, Cancel or quit the installation process." It seems music companies have given themselves the right to barge into the guts of your computer, modifying files, just to make it difficult for you to listen to their music. The Playability chart on the back of the CD box stated it was compatible with CD Audio Home, Windows PCs but not Macs. I didn't have to worry for long because when I shoved it in my Mac that night, it too opened in iTunes like any other Tom (Jones), Dick (Valentine) and (Debbie) Harry CD. (Surely another good reason to switch?)
I tried out a few other CCCDs. Even the Star Wars: Attack of the Clones soundtrack from the local library worked. Now this was something that I, at the time of release, was thinking of buying but didn't because of the playability warning on the cover. A CD that I couldn't rip and transfer to my Rio mpeg player wasn't any use to me (that was before apps like Ambrosia's WireTap were available). These days, AOTC is sooo two years ago, so I've no desire to make the purchase. Now, in these days of falling music sales, do they really want to be losing another valuable customer?
I've learnt that if you use Mac OS X there's nowt to worry about. BGM et al obviously don't see us Mac Heads as much of a threat (it's the same with virus writers), we do only make up 7% of the market after all. So, the next time you're browsing through the new releases don't be put off by the bullshit label on the back. If they say it won't play on a Mac, they're probably lying.