While we usually shy away from music biz commentary here, I believe the lesson here is very relevant to the moving pictures side of the entertainment industry. So please induldge my brief rant.
I had to applaud the music industry when I first encountered the Dual Disc - one side DVD, one side CD - when preordering the new NIN album (very good, btw) last month. At just $2-3 more than a regular CD, it seemed like a great, DVD-inspired approach to adding value for the customer that can't easily be found through P2P networks, Rhapsody, iTunes, and their ilk.
After a play of the CD side on a regular-old CD player, I walked over to the PowerBook to encode the disc so I'd have the music for my commute to work the next morning. Mind you this PowerBook is five months old, running the current OS and current iTunes. The machine couldn't even recognize the disc and spit it out. Second try with my five-month old Thinkpad. Same dealio. The DVD side played fine on both the Mac and Windows.
A few quick searches later I see that I am far from alone. The CD-side is not standard "RedBook" audio and thus not compatible in all CD players - particularly personal computer CD players. The slightly thicker disc is not recognized as a CD by some machines. New releases from Bruce Springsteen, Velvet Revolver and Rob Thomas are apparently also plagued by this incompatibility.
I would like to believe this was just plain ignorance on the part of the music industry in polishing this format. The cynic in me can't help consider that Dual Disc, a new commercially differentiated format that customers might actually pay for, is just Trojan horse for an anti-piracy kluge.
I really hope that's not the case.
This is the last Dual Disc I buy. I'm sticking to iTunes and old-format CDs while they're still available. Openness and portability across all of my devices for the media that I've paid for is paramount.