Monday, May 13, 2002

SLIGHT GOALPOST SHIFTING, PERHAPS: Noticing in the rules for the Official Chart that, to be eligible for The Only Chart That Counts And Is Unbesmirched By Dr Fox, records have to be playable on "standard" equipment, and bearing in mind that Philips - the people who invented CDs - dont consider five inch circles of plastic that won't play on computer CD players to be proper CDs at all - No Rock & Roll Fun asked the people who make up the charts how CDs that won't play on standard equipment such as Celine and Imbroogywoogie's recent attempts still manage to get into the chart. This was the response:

We would consider a PC based CD rom drive as 'non-standard' CD equipment. As I understand it these discs play on the vast majority of regular CD players and so are chart eligible. We have to change the interpretation of the rules to keep step with market forces. For example, we now allow DVD singles, which don't play on CD equipment, but play on standard DVD drives. The rule was devised so that consumers wouldn't have to purchase special equipment to play enhanced cds eg If a CD only played on SONY equipment we would have concerns. However, at the moment, record company's attempts to prevent piracy are not in breach of the spirit of the rules.

Which is, I guess, fair enough although there is an element of doublethink here - there's surely a degree of difference between a single on a different format to a single that has been fixed so as not to play on certain equipment; and it's kind of strange that the chart company don't accept the same definition of what a CD is as, um, the people who lay down the standards for what a CD is, and you wonder which market forces it was that actaully pushed for CDs to be made unplayable on computers - did HMV find itself being besieged by punters returning copies of albums? "This bloody record plays perfectly well on my Compaq PC - I want my bloody money back"? "Ey, Pal, do you have this Sheryl Crow album in a format that I can't listen to through headphones while I'm at work?" It seems unlikely.

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