An open letter to Wyclef Jean

Hey Wyclef,

I love music. I tend to carry a few CD's around in my computer case wherever I go, so I can have some good tunes when I work. And as I really liked your last album, I thought I'd go buy the new one. And that's when I ran into problems. As I pick up the CD it says right there on the cover: "Will not play on PC or Mac". Uh oh. That's a problem. So I didn't buy it.

See, since the only CD player I have happens to be stuck in my laptop, the $15 medium (the CD) is worthless to me. As the album you just put out on the market is copy protected I can't play it. I can't listen to it. And man, I like your stuff. This bugged me.

That's when I went onto the 'net and downloaded the MP3s of the album's songs. This took me less than an hour, and the quality is good enough for me. I can now play them on my laptop, and on the MP3 player I'm about to buy. And I didn't even have to pay for it. Which puts me in a dilemma.

I believe in paying for my entertainment. After all, that's how an artist makes a living. Paying for the opportunity of hearing the music whenever I want to is to do the right thing. But by copy protecting the new album your record company took away all value of the CD itself for me so I got a pirated copy. So now I'd like to pay you money for that opportunity so you aren't affected by the record label trying to limit my chances to hear the music I want to pay for. Where do I send you some money? I'm figuring that if I send you a five dollar bill you get more than enough to offset the loss of a CD sale.

This way you can get your money. And the record company which hasn't provided me with any value (I can't use the CD, remember) isn't getting any. That is fair I think. And of course I'm paying $5 to get the music I want. So if you send me an address where I can mail a letter you'll get my money.

You see, record labels aren't selling as many albums as they used to. And they're blaming those of us who like to have our music available when we wish to, carried on media as we see fit. Say MP3 players when out biking, or even compilation CDs of our favorite tracks for the car. They say they loose sales by this. As you can see above, they loose a sale because I can't do this with their product.

So instead of coming to grips with the underlying problem of why they aren't selling enough albums (whatever they think is enough) they are copy protecting CDs. Well, that still won't move the mountains of Backstreet Boys fifth album (which sounds just like the first four) or of the new Britney clone CD. Crap music doesn't sell, and crap mainstream copycat music won't even sell to the mainstream. But instead of putting out more good stuff such as yours, they attack the problem with sending out hordes of new manufactured mainstream bands and copy protecting all their CDs. Well, the crap won't sell anyway, and the good stuff won't sell either when consumers can't hear it when they want to.

Anyway, I have a $5 sitting here with your name on it. Let me know where to send it.



Your fan,


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