Getting around Sony BMG DRM on a Mac...
February 6, 2006 10:07 PM   Subscribe

I have a friend who has a Sony / BMG DualDisc of Nina Simone. Not only will the CD side of it not play in her Mac, the Mac spits it out immediately without even allowing you to access it from the desktop. What gives? Any way around this? She wants to get the songs onto her iPod.

She writes: "The information re: cd - Legacy Recordings - Sony BMG , "The Soul of Nina Simone", bar code 2876-71973-2"

I thought DRM stuff didn't affect Macs.

Oh, and she's on OS X, but not Tiger--whatever was before it.

We tested the CD and the DVD sides in her DVD player and they both work fine. The DVD side also plays fine in the Mac, just FYI.
posted by Manhasset to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
Unlike regular CDs, DualDiscs are double-sided. One side contains standard CD audio; the other features DVD content, often including the album in higher-fidelity stereo or a 5.1-channel surround sound mix; lyrics, photos, and computer files; music videos, interviews, and documentaries; and anything else one might find on a regular DVD. Though DualDiscs are slightly thicker than ordinary discs, the DVD side should play in all DVD players, and the CD side should play in all CD players."

Maybe it's too thick? Did you try both sides?
posted by doctor_negative at 10:27 PM on February 6, 2006

From my Peter Gallagher, 7 Days in Memphis, CD:

The audio side of this disc does not conform to CD specifications and therefore will not play on some CD and DVD players

DualDisc has this problem.
posted by drewbeck at 10:37 PM on February 6, 2006

Response by poster: doctor_negative, yes, I tried both sides as mentioned in my MI. The DVD side plays fine.

DualDisc has this problem.

Yes, I understand that. However, I'm asking if anyone has a solution.
posted by Manhasset at 10:57 PM on February 6, 2006

Yeah. Bit torrent.
posted by nathan_teske at 11:57 PM on February 6, 2006

Rip the "audio CD" side of it using a Linux system?
posted by mrbill at 12:07 AM on February 7, 2006

I second nathan_teske's Bit torrent suggestion. And for future SonyBMG purchases I recommend it instead of buying the CD. Or see if you can get something directly from the artist that never touches SonyBMG and its anti-customer technology.

In fact, contact her manager and pose the question to him. I'm sure he'd be interested to know that the disc doesn't play for you as he's undoubtedly been assured that it plays on everything (or at least on something as common as a Macintosh).
posted by krisjohn at 12:14 AM on February 7, 2006

Googling around I got the impression that it might not be a DRM issue, but rather that the disc was too thick—the Mac thinking your 3-year-old nephew was trying to feed it a piece of bologna and spitting it out before it could cause any problems.

But it would seem that if the DVD-side worked that ain't it (unless you just got "lucky" with the DVD side working or unlucky with the CD side not working).

Maybe the iMac's internals say something like "DVDs can be thick, but if someone puts in a thick disc without DVD data on it eject it at once because CDs aren't fat and it's probably that damn nephew what with his sandwich again..." although you'd think the disc would still have to spin-up to readable speed before being ejected (not sure if your CD spits out instantly or if it spins up first).

This probably isn't it, but do you have iTunes set to launch when a CD is inserted? (you can adjust this in Preferences>CDs & DVDs>When you insert a music CD) This is assuming that iTunes app is the one causing the problem. If so, you could rip the files to MP3 with another app.

Not really an "on your machine" solution but...

In your question I was picturing the Mac as having a slot-loading CD-ROM drive. If so do have access to a machine with a tray-loading CD-ROM? If not—or, really, "either way"—can you try it on another machine? (I saw a mention online of a DualDisc'ed Nine Ince Nails CD working on a guy's PowerBook, but not his iMac so the compatability may be hit-and-miss)

If you guys can't get it to work, definitely return it since it's useless. (I imagine most returns that music shops get nowadays are because of these stupid DRM things.)
posted by blueberry at 12:50 AM on February 7, 2006

Although I doubt DRM is the problem, there are CD DRM for Mac's.
posted by Dunwitty at 4:21 AM on February 7, 2006

Those discs won't play in my PowerBook, but they do work in my old 500 MHz PowerPC G4. It's the difference between a modern DVD drive and an older DVD-RAM drive. I use the desktop to rip them and transfer the files. So if you happen to know someone with an older Mac...
posted by cribcage at 4:29 AM on February 7, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers, folks.

The disc was a gift from a tech-weary friend and not something she would have bought on her on (meaning Sony not Simone).

I had tried disabling the "launch" iTunes preference and it made no difference so it appears to be the machine or DRM rather than an iTunes problem. It's a recent-ish iMac with a slot-loading drive.

I'll see if I can find it a Bittorrent, though I rarely have luck finding stuff when I've tried in the past.

Thanks again.
posted by Manhasset at 8:35 AM on February 7, 2006

I just want to report that I have a Fiona Apple DualDisc.

Same problem. Automatically spit out by the iMac G5's internal combo drive. However, the external NEC DVD drive in a Firewire enclosure that I have hooked up to my iMac can read the DualDisc fine, and iTunes ripped it fine.
posted by teece at 8:51 AM on February 7, 2006

Yeah, I'm betting the problem is a combination of the thickness of the disc and the thin-ness of the slot-loading drives. Do you have a tray-loading machine you can try it on at work? Rip it to MP3 there, then just take the files to your friend on a USB thumbdrive or something.
posted by blueberry at 2:31 PM on February 7, 2006

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