CD site offers poor selection

by Lou Scerra | 11/25/98 6:00am

CD burners, MP3s, bootleg copies. Regardless what the method, few college students are guiltless in the effort to obtain a single likable, popular song without spending $17.99 on the entire CD.

Now website is attempting to let you hear the "sound of the underground" on a custom CD. The site allows you to create and order your very own CD on the Internet in no time at all.

A very good idea in theory; but as it works out, a very disappointing website.

The selection of songs which one can choose from are severely limited by what the site dictates as "underground" and "hot."

Because of obvious licensing infringements, any major musical artists would refrain from placing songs that will sell in stores on this particular site. As a result, only bands whose names, let alone music, are virtually unrecognizable can be found on the site.

Granted, a few of the songs that are available as sound bytes are musically appealing; but the website's producers are thereby missing the point.

Rather than being a place that customers can create their perfect CD, is a place where visitors must settle for songs that they have not heard before unless they are extremely in tune with the most up-to-date music in various genres (something seemingly very difficult to do in Hanover). The general public would be served much greater and the site would quadruple its hits if songs which are already popular through radio and other media were offered.

The price for the custom CD is reasonable -- $4.99 for 72 minutes of music plus $0.99 for every track which is not on the list of free offers. There are at least 10 free tracks for several genres, but unfortunately the genres range from modern acid jazz to trip-hop leaving the ordinary listener confused and bewildered as to where to go to find the music to which they listen.

Luckily, the page which explains all of the genres is thorough and even lists the history and developers of the particular type of music. Unfortunately, the music of those who contributed to the rise of that particular genre is not included in the collection. For example, bands like the Grateful Dead are mentioned in the "Psyche Rock" description, but there are few, if any, selections which feature these bands.

It is not the website's developers which are at fault here, for their premise is good and the site is even well-constructed, but they do not have the ability to gain the artists or labels necessary to make the creation of a custom CD truly desirable.

Until that time, cannot expect to compete with the transfer of MP3s or even the purchases of CDs in any store.

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