Sadism: the order of the day at Disney

by Richard Kolkovich

At risk of increasing the percentage of rants on my already ill-populated blog, I feel the desire to share this. Twitter’s 140 characters were not sufficient; Facebook’s 420 characters didn’t foot the bill; a blagorant it must be, then. Disclaimer: I do not endorse the piracy of copyrighted content.

In Disney’s infinite pursuit of profit, regardless of how said pursuit may impact their customers, the Tron Legacy soundtrack cannot be had in its entirety from one source. Or two. Or three. Four is the number of sources which you must use, and the number of sources is four.

If you happen to be one of the 307,000,000 or so US residents, you have to shop with or to import the Deluxe version of the soundtrack. This buys you five tracks (12 minutes, 53 seconds of music) more than the only version available from

Source number two? Disney’s bosom buddy, Apple. Two more tracks (6 minutes, 5 seconds of music) can be had from Apple’s iTunes store. These tracks will appear in Apple’s non-free AAC encoding, compressed and possibly DRM-laden (I’m not ‘up to date’ with Apple’s DRM policy. I know they announced dropping DRM completely for music at some point in the past, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they backtracked on that. At least for special friends like Disney).

Moving right along, Amazon’s digital music store gets a taste. A relatively tiny taste, as it were, of one track (2 minutes, 41 seconds). This lone track will be delivered to you in stunningly compressed, non-free MP3 format! DRM? Not here, fortunately.

The last stop on the Tron Legacy soundtrack pain train is Nokia’s Ovi store. Who’s what what? Yeah…thought so. Nokia. Finnish mobile handset maker. They’re pretty big over across the pond. In the States? Not so much. They hold 8% of the mobile phone market share here. Even if you are one of the approximately 22.8 million Americans with a Nokia handset, I’m betting there’s at least a fifty-fifty chance you haven’t created an Ovi account. This is what you will need to grab the last gem and add another 2 minutes, 50 seconds to your collection. Oh…and you’ll need their proprietary software to boot! Need I mention that this track is compressed? If I were a betting man, I’d bet on DRM, too.

Wow. That’s pretty close to a metric shitton of effort to put forth to GIVE A COMPANY YOUR MONEY. Let’s recap, shall we? You order a CD from a foreign country and wait at least ten days (as of this writing, Amazon UK estimates delivery w/ standard shipping between January 6th and 10th; the soundtrack is out of stock with Amazon Canada). To retrieve the other 24 minutes and 29 seconds of soundtrack, you make a purchase with three merchants, possibly creating as many accounts and installing as many as two pieces of software.

Seriously? File this one under “cruel and unusual punishment.” Thanks, Disney, for punishing your potential customers who would gladly open their wallets a bit wider to get all 31 of these tracks in a single, two-disc set. In an uncompressed format. Without DRM.

As a side note, most things in the natural world take the path of least resistance: lightning, water, and humans who have heard of The Pirate Bay. Downloading a single torrent provides a whole hell of a lot less resistance than Disney’s boondoggle. And in minutes rather than weeks. Way to encourage piracy, geniuses.

End of line.