More on iTunes and Modern Times

Cory Doctorow wrote to say: 

Kim, it appears that the four tracks you couldn&#39t burn were video- files that probably couldn&#39t be burned to a redbook CD, though the UI is still inexcusably confusing.

But there&#39s still something rotten in Denmark.

If you go to buy the plastic CD at Amazon, here is the track list you see.  Check it out.  There are two disks – an Audio CD (Disc 1) and a DVD (Disc 2):

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Thunder On The Mountain  
  2. Spirit On The Water  
  3. Rollin’ and Tumblin’  
  4. When The Deal Goes Down  
  5. Someday Baby  
  6. Workingman&#39s Blues #2  
  7. Beyond The Horizon  
  8. Nettie Moore  
  9. The Levee&#39s Gonna Break  
  10. Ain&#39t Talkin’  
  11. Blood In My Eyes 
  12. Love Sick  
  13. Things Have Changed  
  14. Cold Irons Bound 

Dsc: 2 

  1. Cold Irons Bound (Unreleased live version from Masked & Anonymous) 
  2. Blood In My Eyes 
  3. Things Have Changed 
  4. Love Sick (From The Grammy Awards) 

In other words, Amazon says the audio CD includes the audio tracks corresponding to the videos you get on the second disk.  Isn&#39t that what you would expect?

The virtual product doesn&#39t let you do the same thing.  Who cares if it&#39s not DRM on the audio – but instead, DRM on the video?  I&#39m unable to strip the audio off the video to burn it to a CD.

I think iTunes (or is it Sony?) should have structured their download the way they did with the molecular set – giving you all the audio tracks, and letting you copy them to a CD.

As Cory says, the iTunes user interface is – in this one case – incredibly confusing.  But in truth, even if iTunes fixed it, I wouldn&#39t be happy with the Dylan album experience.  When I download an album I want the equivalent of the molecular product – with all of its 14 tracks, or whatever it&#39s supposed to have.

Meanwhile, Alex J wrote to me from England.

Alex apparently doesn&#39t think that videos have an audio track, or that I should expect to be able to put the soundtrack on an audio CD the way Sony did in the brick and mortar world (the miracles of modern science!).  He writes:

mmmm.. I don&#39t see any DRM problems at all. I don&#39t see any errors on the part of iTunes anywhere. I don&#39t see …. well, shall I tell you what I DO see?

I see a loud mouthed idiot getting hysterical over the fact that he (she?) is trying to burn 4 bonus video – VIDEO – tracks to an audio CD and is being told by iTunes that it can&#39t be done.

Funny that.

Now, stop frothing at the mouth, go and burn tracks 1 through 10 (ie. the audio tracks, you know, the music?), and r-e-l-a-x. Oh, and don&#39t forget to put up a retraction of your silly rant :-)

I guess “frothing” is not inaccurate, though hauling out the word “bonus” to legitimize the iTunization of the last four songs is a bit much – as is the implication that they don&#39t contain “music”. 

Getting down to brass tacks, the trouble is that Blood In My Eyes and Things Have Changed are pretty decent songs (you know, those audio things), and I don&#39t want them caged up inside the proprietary iTunes environment.  

22 thoughts on “More on iTunes and Modern Times

  1. FYI, Modern Times is definitely only a 10 track album. The other four ‘tracks’ are merely bonus material provided on a completely separate disc with the physical version of the album. They are in no way part of the studio recordings – in fact, Blood in My Eyes is from the album ‘World Gone Wrong’, Things Have Changed is from the film ‘Wonder Boys’, and the other two tracks are non-studio versions of songs from ‘Time Out of Mind.’

    When I put the Modern Times CD in my player I only see those 10 tracks, ending with Ain&#39t Talkin’.

    So while it sucks that you can&#39t burn the video files as audio, you&#39re not missing out on any of Modern Times by burning just the 10 audio-only files.

    As such, it seems that the answer is “bad iTunes UI” – Apple&#39s site seems to have presented the ‘album’ as a 14 track collection of songs. For once I don&#39t think Sony (and certainly not Dylan) is to blame.

    EDIT: on further reading it seems the problem must surely be that Amazon is inaccurately representing the CD as a 14-track album.

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