Home / RIPOFF ALERT: DualDisc version of Ben Folds’ Songs For Silverman

RIPOFF ALERT: DualDisc version of Ben Folds’ Songs For Silverman

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A word of warning: the DualDisc version of Ben Folds’ Songs For Silverman is copy-protected and WILL NOT play in your computer. Not to show off, but I am pretty computer-savvy and have a brand new, extremely high quality CD/DVD rewritable drive that has been reviewed as one of the better drives for ripping copy-protected discs and it won’t even read the stereo-audio side of the DualDisc. I am more than pissed – I’m so mad that not only will this disc be returned immediately, I may not choose to replace it with the more expensive, separate CD and DVD “deluxe” edition. I know that it’s not fair to blame the artist for a label-directed decision, but the impact must be made somewhere. Unfortunately, my only visible, viable target is the artist, who will lose my money and, hopefully, the money of any other faithful buyers who decide that ENOUGH IS GODDAMN ENOUGH.

The literature included with the disc, on a small bright-red flyer, extols the many wonderful virtues of this new technology. Oooh, you can have video on one side for your DVD player and stereo audio on the other for your CD player. Except, down in the corner is a warning that states ” The audio side of this disc does not conform to CD specifications and therefore not all DVD and CD players will play the audio side of the disc.” When I first read that, moments after opening the package, I assumed that they meant older units would choke on the disc, which, while not fair, could reasonably be expected. And it did work in my car’s in-dash Pioneer CD player – a location that has, generally, proven to be the first point at which I find fails any of the very few copy-protected discs I’ve managed to get suckered into buying. It worked – and I was temporarily happy. When I arrived back at work, I popped the disc into my computer’s CDROM drive and listened to it grind away with uncomfortable sounds. After a few minutes of grinding, my computer acted as if nothing had changed – nothing viable was in the drive. I was obviously miffed, but figured it was a crappy drive and it would work fine at home. And then it didn’t.

I get the point of copy-protection. I really do. What I don’t get is why it is only the people who paid for the disc that get punished. Because I did pay for this disc, and according to US laws, I have a RIGHT to use this disc as I please for my own personal enjoyment. That means I can rip it and copy it to a CDR if I want to, as long as only I use it. I’m fine with that. I’m also allowed to transfer it to another medium, such as mp3, which is my goal here so that I can listen to it on my Ipod, and, again, it’s only my right to use the resulting files. I’m fine with that. What I am most definitely NOT fine with is a record label telling me that I don’t have this right, or that I do, but they’re just choosing not to support my decision to invoke it. All I did when I bought this CD was buy a license for the music on the disc. My right is being stepped on here because I cannot listen to this music the way I wish to.

This was my first experience with DualDisc technology. It will also be my last. And, hopefully, I’ll steer some others away from it, but, please, do me a favor first: go buy this album, or any other DualDisc release, then immediately take it back and complain that it will not play. Get all your friends to do this too. If enough people do this the labels will be stuck with a massive amount of returned discs that they can’t do anything with. This is the only way I have figured out that will send some sort of a message to the labels. They won’t listen to complaints – not when tons of these discs are flying off shelves (and I guarantee they are – Bruce Springsteen’s new album is only available as a DualDisc.) When they are faced with a pile of unsellable discs, they’ll at least know the technology’s not going over very well. All I’m asking is that you take a stance – don’t buy these DualDiscs, or buy them and return them.

(Please note that I will no longer link to DualDisc albums – what I’ve linked to here are new discs that I know are not copy-protected, because you deserve an option for good music.)

UPDATE: Because I do enjoy the Ben Folds, I relented and returned the defective DualDisc to exchange for the upgrade to the “special edition” packaging, which is a handsomely executed book with expanded liner notes and artwork, and contains separate CD and DVDs that actually conform to the very specific standards and also bear the official marks of their conforming to those standards (the well-known Compact Disc Audio and DVD Video logos found only on discs that do conform to those standards.) The CD plays and rips perfectly fine. Buy away.

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About Tom Johnson

  • BLaM-O!

    Just wanted to add that Nine Inch Nalis – The Downward Spiral and With Teeth DualDisc sets have the same problem. It was only $1.00 more to get the “Deluxe” edition included the audio Cd on one side and DVD on the other. DVD side works fine, but can’t play the other side……

    cunt punching cumm sucker dead rat cock meat milk straw swallower, rat ass muncher, ass flying monkey rapper, fuck head DualDisc Bullshit!!!!!…$$@@#%^&* ## ^&#

  • R.James

    I have to laugh everytime PC users cry about problems ripping CD’s and DVD’s. Get a Mac and laugh with me. I just finished ripping this Ben Folds DualDisc (and the new Franz Ferdinand) for my iPod and not one hiccup. It also helps that I’m using a LaCie DVD/CD burner that is rock solid.

    No problems here at all. :O)

  • Kyle

    I just bought the franz ferdinand dualdisc and the re-release of taking back sundays first album, which includes an added dualdisc with two bonus songs on it none of the computers I have tried to play it in have worked. It seems like most cd players will play it but carrying around a cd player along with 120 cd’s just is not as convenient as carrying around an ipod or any other mp3 player. The dual disc format is a wast of money for anyone considering purchasing it.

  • Patrick, thank you for your heads-up on the Talking Heads set. If you do end up returning it, I would highly suggest dropping an email to drrhino-at-rhino.com (Dr. Rhino at Rhino Records) to inform them of the problem. I have already been in contact with Rhino regarding the release of regular CD versions of these albums, and Dr. Rhino stated that they are not aware of issues with Dualdiscs nor do they have plans to issue the albums in any other format. (For those curious, the individual CDs from this set will be released in two batches in late January and February.)

    Anyone who encounters issues with Dualdiscs or copy-protected discs would do everyone a big favor by contacting the labels to express your feelings about the issue. The more they hear about people returning or not buying these things at all, the more likely it is this format will go away!

  • Patrick Joseph

    I just got the Talking Heads brick. The CD side of the first disc I tried was undetected in the drive of my iMac G5. Getting the disc out took some research.

    The cd sideof a disc would play in my external Lacie DVD dual layer burner but it made my two week old speakers sound shredded. The DVD side would open in my default player, but quickly froze and displayed a warning error.

    The DVD side plays fine in my 5 year old Apex DVD player connected to my TV. Not really the most acceptabloe of all options.

    Not what I was expecting for $140. I hate to return it, but as my computer is my stereo, I really have just dropped a large sum of money on some lovely coasters.

  • Chris Matten

    The Talking Heads just came out with a new 8-disk set of all of their albums all on dualdisc. The price at Tower Records is $150.00. That’s very steep for me. Would anyone else consider paying that price for this knowing the problems like you all seem to do?

  • Steve

    Well, I just bought the Gretchen Wilson Dual disc, and here are my findings– YMMV….

    Plextor 20/40/12A Drive: Not Visible
    LiteOn SOHW832s Drive: Not Visible
    LiteOn LDW411s Drive: Not Visible
    LiteOn LNT486S Drive: Visible

    So, one out of 4 of my drive read it. It was the only CD-ROM drive I have that took it. Worked, ripped, and played fine on the CD-ROM drive (Not a CDR Drive BTW, plain Jane CD-ROM).

    Guess it’s kind of like the DVD delimma, the cheaper the player, the more it seems to read. 🙂 Anyway, these discs do appear readable on a PC, depending on your drive. Can’t find any further concrete info than that.


  • DingDang, you are correct that DualDisc does not, as yet, include copy-protection (it will, don’t worry – Sony is simply trying to cement this format in the marketplace before infringing people’s rights even further. It is no skin off their noses that people can’t use these discs in their computer.) I humbly stand corrected and should have included an additional update, but I’m lazy.

    DualDisc may claim to boast a 95% compatibility rate, but that is certainly not a real assessment of the number of people having problems with it. As my post states, I have a very highly recommended CD/DVD drive in my computer, one that the CD Freaks have noted for its ability rip discs with difficult copy-protection schemes. This is a brand new drive and it will not read this disc. It is, as Sony puts it, the “current technology” on which they claim this disc should work. It doesn’t. DualDisc is a shoddy technology – anything that parades itself around as “CD audio” should play in anything that claims to be a CD-based drive unit. It doesn’t, and the DualDiscs should not be allowed to be labeled as anything that even invokes the idea of “CD,” because that very clearly defines a specific media that these discs are decidely NOT. All one has to do is look at the messageboards associated with all artists whose albums have been mangled by this wretched format – Foo Fighters and David Gray (whose new album came out just yesterday as either copy-protected “CD” or a DualDisc. The lesser of two evils doesn’t exist – so I didn’t buy either.) immediately come to mind, whose messageboards were choked with posts about the unplayability of these discs. This format screws the consumer, plain and simple.

  • DingDang

    OK let me set the record straight. There is not a single DualDisc title that has EVER been released by ANY record label that has copy protection on it. Not one. Ever.

    If your computer’s CDROM drive can’t read the “CD” side of the disc, then that’s exactly it, it can’t read the CD side. Pretty simple really. That does not mean it’s copy protected.

    I have a Toshiba laptop and I own over 20 DualDisc titles (including this one) and have NEVER had a single problem ripping ANY one of them into my computer. I use MusicMatch to rip them to WMA files.

    The DualDiscs are not copy protected. But it very clearly states on the back that some models cannot play the CD side of the disc. If your particular model can’t, then return the disc. But don’t go around screaming “copy protection” because that’s not what it is.

    Without getting too technical, the actual reason that some CD players/CDROM drives cannot read the CD side of a DualDisc is because of the thickness of the CD layer.

    In a conventional CD, the thickness of the disc is 1.2mm. To allow for manufacturing defects, RedBook standards allow a disc to be 1.5mm thick, thus allowing a 0.3mm margin of error during manufacturing.

    Of the 1.2mm thickness, 1.1mm of that is the actual CD layer that contains the data while 0.1mm is the lacquer coating.

    DualDiscs are created by fusing a DVD layer to a CD layer thus creating a double-sided hybrid disc. The problem lies in that the manufacturers needed the disc thickness to be 1.5mm to ensure good drive compatibility. The problem is, a 1.1mm CD layer combined with a standar 0.6mm DVD layer = 1.7mm. To remedy this problem, they shaved 0.2mm off of the CD layer, making it 0.9mm (which is thinner than Redbook specs allow, thus why they say that the CD side doesn’t conform to CD specs). The inevitable downside to the thinner CD layer is that the lasers in some CD players get a “blurry” picture of the data and can’t read the disc. To get around that problem, engineers made the pits in the CD layer bigger which makes it easier on the laser to read, but also reduces the CD playing time from the standard 74 minutes to about 60 minutes. But even with that, some CD players still just can’t read it. DualDisc boasts over a 95% compatibility rate. That’s pretty decent.

    Class dismissed.

  • Rachel

    The dual layer audio disc played in my G4 iBook just fine. It also ripped to iTunes just fine. However, it became jammed in the computer. And now I can’t get it out! I have never had this problem before, and I hope it isn’t because of this stupid dual layer shit.

  • CeeKay

    Oh, btw, They basicly lie to you when they say that due to the dual format, it will not work on certain players, Well, we all know thats bullsh*t. It’s all about limiting people from freedom. Also, Anyone that disagrees with any of the posts we all have up here, does not deserve to be on the internet.

  • CeeKay

    Grrrr, I just bought a damn Dual-Disc cd myself, just last night!,Jason Mraz Mr. A-Z. Hmmm, looks liek if they LURE customers with “extra” features, maybe they will buy the first amendment Crushing products. I KNEWW this had to be the problem when my Cd-R/W ( which is a good unit) started acting like i put in a heavily scratched cd inside. Well, i work at Sears which is where i bought it, and guess what thier new return policy on Cd’s is? They can only be replaced with the same exact product! so i’m screwed. if i say ” well, it doesnt work, they’ll say get another one” This is BS! I hope this blong gets posted at the top of teh ranking in goolge because people arent going to put up with this BULLSH*T which is exactly what it is. The record companies think we are ripping THEM off??? They charge us 17.99 for a CD! Good idea about returning any disc that is a DualDisc, hell, if i had more time, i woudl buy them just to return them but me aloen woudl not make much of an impact. So what should i do? I shoudl have the right to make my own custom mix of music. I almost have a little anger towards the artists but its possible they had little say. GRRR

  • TheGuyWhoSavedYou, did you actually READ my post and the following comments? Because it’s not about burning a DVD – it’s about the fact that DualDiscs do not work in a very large number of places that people would want to listen to music. Let’s go over that again: if the disc cannot be read, it cannot be copied (nor played.) Get it? And you called US stupid?

  • TheGuyWhoSavedYou

    Boy, you guys are just brilliant. Sitting and whining about not being able to burn DVD’s. If you want to show the companies who’s boss….don’t return the DVD’s….find software to burn encypted DVD’s…..oh wait, I did.
    Slysoft AnyDVD.

    Good luck stupid people.

  • dudehead

    In reply to the comments earlier about other dualdiscs besides Ben Folds, The Offspring Greatest Hits also will not be read on my Mac. Same crappy problem.

  • Well, that’s good, John. (And you didn’t go unnoticed!) Some people are lucky enough to be able to rip the discs while others are not – it’s completely hit and miss, but it does seem that newer slot-loading Mac owners are SOL when it comes to DualDiscs. And that’s exactly why this format cannot be allowed to continue – the product needs to work in current technology if it’s going to parade itself around as compatible with current-technology. A tiny warning on the disc is not good enough – especially not when they don’t offer an alternative (as Bruce Springsteen fans know by now, there’s no non-DualDisc version of his latest album available. So it’s either buy it or go without . . . or steal it off the internet.) It’s also not acceptable that the “warning” makes it sound like a small number of outdated CD players and computers would not be able to play them, and this is patently FALSE – it’s the newer, higher-end equipment that is having the problem. It’s simply unacceptable, and until people stop buying these BS discs, the labels are going to continue putting them out – it suits them just fine if you can’t rip it. That’s what they’re hoping, anyway.

  • John C. Wallace

    At the risk of being unnoticed, I just purchased this fine album today, as well as Nine Inch Nails’ “The Downward Spiral”, both on DualDisc, and had no problem ripping either into MP3 format.

  • The dualdisc kind of scares me. I have a tendency to f*^ck up my albums already without having two potentially destructive sides to worry about.

  • You’re right Tom, I missed that it was the Audio disc that you were talking about. Dumb. Dumb me. Sorry.

    Believe me. I know its easier than spittting to download any music for free from P2P like LimeWire and Kaaza and ????. I think that’s the scary point I’m trying to make and which you also made – pay the musicians ya freeloaders.

    Now there’s the whole other side that established musicians make almost more money touring than they do with their albums.

    But yeah, audio – sorry.

    Aren’t Dualdiscs jut the latest marketing garbage? I’m sure they’re fun but they used to be known as enhanced CDS. I’ve got them ffom the mid-1990s.

  • Nope, not true, Matt – nothing is being installed on MY computers, that’s for sure. I disabled autorun long ago (and so should every other computer user.)

    It is hit and miss – one drive will work, one won’t. It appears that it depends on how strictly it adheres to the Redbook standards. If it adheres closely, as all CD players/drives really should, then it will likely not read this disc. If it plays fast and loose with the rules, as some cheaper units do, it may (repeat, may) work.

    The issue that I have found from doing a lot of research on this problem this week is that it may be the thickness of the plastic that is causing all the problems. The specs for CDs are pretty specific about how thick the plastic must be (because the laser must account for a certain amount of loss due to the material it is passing through.) When that gets messed with, things go wrong.

    It would be nice if they’d stop messing with this stuff – CDs should be CDs, DVDs should be DVDs, and never the twain should meet. I’d be very curious to see what the return-rate is on all the DualDiscs Sony is flooding the market with lately.

  • My experience:

    The disc won’t play after the second time you try reading it from the CD/DVD-ROM. This leads me to believe there is a bit of software it installs or it messes around with some hidden setting so it won’t be recognized.

    Since I had already used up my chance to rip from my main PC, I used CDex and my backup PC (with a 6 year old CD-ROM) to rip the tracks to mp3.

    Also, I was curious and found that it works fine on my linux box. So what ever copy protection it uses is Window’s only. Don’t know about the Mac.

  • Temple, you are missing the entire point of my post: I want to rip the AUDIO disc – the one that is supposed to be a CD, you know, the kind of things that get played in CD players – so that I can put it on my Ipod. I really don’t get how this is so hard to understand. I never, ever, not once, never never . . . wait for it . . . never mentioned wanting to rip the DVD.

    And, by the way, yes, just like ripping CDs, there are legitimate reasons to rip a DVD – to make a copy that the kids can’t ruin, that’s a pretty common one I hear parents do quite often with those expensive kids’ DVDs. And you can also rip the audio from, for example, concert DVDs, which I routinely do because I have very little time to repeatedly watch a DVD, but I can listen pretty much anywhere I want to.

    Anyone else checking these comments, read my update: the “special package” edition contains a Redbook standard CD which even bears the offical Compact Disc Audio logo (which cannot be used unless it truly conforms to Redbook standards.) It rips with ease.

  • And Tom all I asked was why you want a copy of a DVD? What possible need other than giving it away to someone else. I didn’t talk about rights or ease of doing so. I appreciate you already bought it. We seem to agree on most parts of this dscussion.

    My surround sound crap was just an example. A confusing one, apparently.

    And Sydney – a $1 a song (iTunes) is too expensive? I understand people’s needs for thousands and thousands of songs – but that doesn’t mean people aren’t losing money.

    Of course, it’s not going to do you any good Robert – “Please sirs and / or madams, can you make it easier for me to steal your music?”

  • robert james

    I tried to rip the new Ben Folds with my new dell system and couldn’t get the disc to read. It didn’t matter if I used music match or i tunes. Disc is going back to the store. I’ve already fired off a blast at Sony BMG, a lot of good that will do me.

    I won’t buy another.

  • I understand your grief, Sydney – I think most music fans do, in fact. The prices many stores are charging is ridiculous. The problem is that you CAN find lower prices – they ARE out there if you look for them. Buy online if your local stores are too expensive. Amazon.com usually has decent deals, especially if you buy multiple items, but there are also sites like Cheap CDs that undercut them most of the time (but selection is often more limited and they are prone to selling out quickly.)

    I’m entirely for downloading things to check out, see if you actually like the music. But if you decide you like it, you owe it to the artist to go buy the album and support them for the hard work they went through to make that music for you.

  • sydney

    I’m against copyright protection because I don;t wnat to have to pay 23$ for every 11 songs I listen too. Music is outrageouly expensive these days so I copy it for free.

    The bands I really dig, I buy the album or go see them when the tour. I see about 2 bands live a month and thats it for my music expenses. Most bands prefer it that way anyway.

    In any case, just wanted to clear the air and let some peopel know that we don’t have to feel liek were stealing when we download/upload music.

  • sydney

    I’m against copyright protection because I don;t wnat to have to pay 23$ for every 11 songs I listen too. Music is outrageouly expensive these days so I copy it for free.

    The bands I really dig, I buy the album or go see them when the tour. I see about 2 bands live a month and thats it for my music expenses. Most bands prefer it that way anyway.

    In any case, just wanted to clear the air and let some peopel know that we don’t have to feel liek were stealing when we download/upload music.

  • Actually, that’s only a combo-deal through Folds’ site. You get the same package you would get in the stores (DualDisc or the CD/DVD in a book, plus Goldfish in a separate case.) You can also purchase the disc separately for $9.98, which is what I did.

  • JR

    So apparently there’s even a deluxe edition of Songs For Silverman which comes with a bonus disc, Songs For Goldfish. What’s up with that?

  • The Theory

    I think that the older your technology, the more likely it is that the copy proctection software will not be an issue.

    I’ve got an older mac that wouldn’t know copy protection software if it hit it in the face. Of course, since it is an older mac on dialup it would also take it three weeks to try and illegally distribute the album online.

    Some of the copy protection software (specifically with pre-releases, not with bought albums) skip on my walkman cd player (which is also my car cd player) so the obvious solution is just to make a copy of the album and use the CDR to listen to. Ironic, but it works.


    I agree, if I buy a CD and it won’t play in whatever I want to play it on, it gets returned ASAP.

  • Temple, please re-read my post: I want to listen to the AUDIO disc wherever I want. I PAID for the disc, I have a right to listen to it as I please. If I don’t have a surround sound system, how exactly would I take advantage of that, since that does seem to work in your case? And, more importantly, why should I have to do that?

    Copying commercial DVDs is pretty easy, by the way. I routinely rip the audio from concert DVDs to listen to (because I will watch a DVD only once in a while, but I will LISTEN many times.)

    I have seen numerous mixed reports on the usability of these discs. Some people are able to rip from them, some are not. The fact that I have a BRAND NEW CD/DVD writer – literally not two months old – that cannot rip from the audio portion of the disc (and I did my research – it is well-reviewed by folks who know how to test these drives for the copy-protected disc rippability) should send up a signal flare: the labels, as we’ve been shown time and time again, are not interested in keeping fans happy. They are only concerned about profits. How do you make an impact to someone that only cares about profits? Take away their profits by returning these discs, as I will be doing today.

    And just to show how futile this is, I was able to track down mp3s last night for the album. Easily. So back this purposely defective disc goes and I’ll fork out an extra few bucks for the deluxe separate CD and DVD so that I can still legally use the mp3s I found. And don’t think that it’s a coincidence that Sony has packaged the standard CD with a standard DVD in a more expensive package. They know the DualDisc format has problems, but it does thwart copying in many cases and so suits their needs, but they are so generously providing a more expensive “alternative” with standard CD audio. It’s a test, I suppose – how good of a person am I? Will I upgrade to the better option to retain my rights? Yep, I will, and I know I’m that one sucker that will out of 100 that will not.

  • I am, at the moment, listening to the new Springsteen disc on my three-year-old computer at work (it’s only a CD drive, not a CD-DVD drive, by the way). I can rip the tracks using iTunes with no problem. It played this morning on the way to work in the five-year-old player in my car. It sounds like this format is unpredictable, if anything, which isn’t a good thing.

  • folds

    I bought this disc as was able to rip it to MP3s with no problem. They are on my IPOD now.

    I agree that the copy protection is total crap and not an effective way to address the issues they are trying to address. Just thought I would let you know that I was able to do it…

  • I played Ben’s new DualDisc album on my Dell computer and was able to burn cuts onto my hard drive and iPod. It won’t play on a drive that only plays CDs, but it will play on a drive that plays DVDs and CDs.

  • Temple, I don’t believe he has any interest in wanting to copy a DVD, he just wants to be able to listen to the music that he bought the way he wants.

    I received a review copy of a CD awhile back that I could not rip to MP3 and that I could only listen to on the computer by listening to digital files already on the disk–that were pretty low quality. It was very frustrating and annoying. Now, it was a review CD, so I had no reason to complain–I got the thing free, after all. But if I had purchased that, I would be pissed off and damn well would return it. One of the major ways I listen to music is in MP3 format on my computer, mixed into other playlists, maybe burned onto a CD with other songs. I also want to make backup copies for my car. These copy protection schemes often stop me from doing all those legitimate things, which are just other ways that I prefer to enjoy the music I paid for.

    So yeah, these things annoy the hell out of me. So I’m wondering, now, are all Dual Discs like this or was this just the Ben Folds Five CD? If they all are, then that sucks, because I have a feeling sooner or later, there’s going to be an album I really want released only in DualDisc format.

  • Look does it work? Can you hear it? And why do you need to copy a DVD anyway?

    Now on the dual disc I got (review copy) the audio side didn’t work but the DVD side did – and luckily it had surround sound versions of all the songs.

    But I didn’t even think of getting all my friends to throw a hissy fit and return DVDs – even if they work. That’s childish.

    It’s not you, it’s everyone. Who needs to copy a commercial DVD?

  • Close save. I almost actually spent money on this Ben Folds album tonight at Best Buy. I’ll just download a clean set of mp3s off the net now instead, and avoid the noid. Damned if I’ll pay out the extortionate price of a commercial CD just to get one that purposely is made not to work.

    What are these stupid sonsabitches even thinking?

  • Dual Discs seem to becoming more and more popular these days. It’s good to know that it doesn’t always work though, so you know what you’re buying beforehand.