Entertainment Quantified

Jul 17, 2005 - Fun Computers

What Happens When You Put a Cd in Your Computer

When I enter a CD into my computer, I want one of two things to happen :

  1. Start playing the CD.
  2. Rip the CD to my music collection.

When I place a CD in the drive, most of the time, Windows decides to be helpful and ask me what to do. I have even checked the box stating “Do this every time I enter a CD of this type in the drive.” Being the helpful OS that it is, it continues to ask me though.

Sometimes when I put a CD in the drive, the company that made the CD decides to be helpful and starts either a Flash player with band extras or their own CD player, or they force me to install something. This is an incredibly bad user experience.

Take for example the Foo Fighter’s new CD. I’m at work and I want to listen to this CD. I insert it into my work computer and suddenly all of my hard work is replaced by a black screen with the Foo Fighter’s picture in the middle of the screen. The only way this could be worse is if they will not allow me to rip the CD in a lossless format and instead force me to listen to some really poor 128kbs version of their music. BMG, the company that distributes this CD, was kind enough to do just that.

I once even thought I’d try the software that was included with the CD. I had to install software on my computer, and then reboot in order to listen to the CD. This goes beyond bad. I was so upset with this user experience that I ripped the CD, and made a copy with the music only just so I wouldn’t have to endure that again.

Today I look at a CD and I think that it is too difficult to listen to the music that is on it. This should not be the case. A music CD should contain music. If the author wants to put extra stuff on the disk, there should be some mechanism in my CD playing software to indicate that there is extra content. However, they should think more of the consumer than of their own pockets. I want to put the CD into the drive; my media player of choice should start silently in the background, and play the music. That’s the user experience I want for music CD’s.