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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Amazon.com stealing from Sony? or please download only legal music

I added this article because I want to ask you to support Matisyahu.

If you like Matisyahu and his music please make sure you get his music in a legal way and that Matisyahu will get the credit he deserves.
please don't download his music in an illegal way or even in other unfair ways.

you can still get Matisyahu's music for free from this link, it's free and LEGAL! this way you get your free music and Matisyahu still gets the credit.

Thank you

Amazon.com stealing from Sony?

by: Shmuly Tennenhaus

Imagine being a musician. You work hard to record a CD. The CD is complete and it will hit the stores in six-weeks. However, amazon.com is now giving the world unfettered access to your intellectual property before you intended date of reaching the masses. Want to see how they are doing it? Read the entire story below.

The following story involves an internet company called amazon.com. If you have not heard of them, I recommend you clean up the moss that has been gathering on your body after so many years of living under a rock.

There is an up and coming reggae artist called Matisyahu. Like me, he is a hot Hasid in his twenties. Unlike me, he possesses good looks, tremendous talent, a wife, a life PLUS a freshly inked contract with Sony. He is currently on a national tour and much has been written him. He made for a very entertaining guest on the Jimmy Kimmel show.

small matis.jpg

Last week, a friend of mine tells me that his friend gave him all the music tracks for Matisyahu's unreleased CD called Youth. The CD is scheduled to be released in March of 2006. Naturally, I asked my friend how this person obtained these not yet released songs? And so he told me. It was actually quite simple. You see, amazon.com has a new brilliant feature called digital locker. The DL (my clever abbreviation for digital locker) was created by amazon to provide users with enhanced shopping experience. The DL gives you access to an additional digital format of your purchase, be it a book excerpt in PDF or in our case, digital music.

Until this point, everything sounds comely and rosy. However, things are just starting to stir. Here's why; because the music files that amazon gives you can be easily downloaded and saved onto your PC. How do I know this? Well, that's exactly what this person did. He took these music files and burned them. And the end result is that they are now comfortably lounging in my sexy MP3 player.

Sound too good (or bad) to be true? I thought so too. So, as a budding online blogger, I decided to personally investigate the situation. (My first choice was to hand this case over to Inspector Gadget. But he still has not returned from the Consumer and Electronic show in Vegas.) So, I go to amazon.com and buy the CD. After checkout the screen said "digital files available in cart" (see screen shot below). I was excited and thismuch closer to winning a Nobel (disturbing the) Peace Prize. But, when I logged into my account to check the contents of my DL, it was empty.

click image to see bigger

Undeterred, I emailed amazon customer service. One thing I must credit amazon for; they may be screwing music artists, but their customer service is terrific. After several email exchanges, they understood my request and replied as follows: Thanks for writing to us with your questions. I apologize that this item was not in your digital library. Below, I have included the correct URL for this streaming album.

The URL did in fact follow and I will NOT post it here EVEN if you beg. Needless to say, the link worked fine. And my friends version of the story was looking legit. To save the files onto my windows media player, all I did was go to File, selected add to file and then selected add currently playing item. And poof! They are now safe and sound on my laptop. Now, I can just burn the music onto a CD.

At this point in time, I wondered if the artist's production company was aware of this gaping gaffe. So, I emailed them. They emailed me back stating :
Thank you very much for this. We are already aware of this. Amazon mistakenly believes their digital locker files are not copy-able. The digital locker program for YOUTH has been suspended. If you do receive the
stream of YOUTH in your amazon account, though, please let us know.

Just so you know, even after amazon customer service emailed me the music stream, the files did NOT appear in my DL. Once again I emailed customer service asking them when this would occur. And this was their reply: Thanks for writing to us with your question. Unfortunately, due to a technical error on our part, the digital content will not appear in your Digital Library.

Aha! So now amazon.com was conceding they had indeed committed a technical blunder. But the irony to all of this is that the streaming URL, which they so kindly emailed me, was still working and can still be easily copied. Hence, they attempted to solve the matter by not supplying the files into my DL, but the problem did not go away. The production was right. My friend's story was legit. And music labels are getting the murdered on the high CD's because music files that amazon sends you can still be conveniently copied.

Of course, the story has one more interesting part. The CD only releases in March. Therefore, my order does not ship for another month and a half. With that in mind, I went back to amazon and canceled my order. And thereafter was my streaming URL disabled? Absolutely not!

In case you fell asleep during the longest blog post ever known to mankind, I will recap the crucial ramifications. Imagine being a musician. You work hard to record a CD. The CD is complete and it will hit the stores in six-weeks. However, amazon.com is now giving the world unfettered access to your intellectual property before you intended date of reaching the masses. Better yet, the music can be copied, burned, raped, pillaged and then returned for a full refund!

At least with Kazaa and other free music software applications, the consumer has a choice when it comes to listening to music. He can either pay or get it for free. In this case however, since the music has not yet been released, music fans only have one option...and that cannot be good for the music industry.

Here's the scariest part. Matisyahu is just one musician. As a natural born skeptic, I am confidant that this amazon issue is more prevalent that you think. Me thinks that Amazon.com , in an effort to introduce a novelty feature to their marketplace, ended up releasing a faulty product. And this means that when the word spreads to music industry execs, that amazon.com is unknowingly guilty of proliferating their intellectual property, then the lyrics will hit the fan!


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