A couple of months ago, The Wall Street Journal published a troubling article about the spread of fake compact discs in
On the positive side, the Journal said most of the bogus CDs were bound for markets in
Last week, I was in a huge
“Oh, my God!” I thought to myself, “the dreaded Chinese counterfeit discs have already reached these shores!” And in a big way. Yes, as my trek throughout the store continued, I stumbled upon a staggering number of CDs containing songs whose titles apparently had been butchered by Asian counterfeiters. For example, on Stevie Ray Vaughan’s 1986 compact disc Live Alive, I found not one, but two, giveaways that pirates were involved: a song called “Voodoo Chile” and a second song entitled “Ain’t Gone ‘N’ Give up on Love.”
Things didn’t get any better when I turned to Little Feat’s 1978 live masterpiece Waiting for
Things only got worse when I turned to more contemporary recordings I was thinking of buying in a desperate attempt to seem cutting edge-such as Montel Williams or Douglas Coupland. Ride the Break, the latest release by JC-001 & DZire, seemed like a good place to start, but sure enough, when I turned to the back of the CD, there it was: a song entitled “Build the Motha Up.” For similar reasons, I was leery of Gangsta Pat’s new CD #1 Suspect because of the unnerving presence of such tracks as “Legion of Doome” and “Gangsta’s Need Love 2.” And something about the track “Lenchmob also in Tha Group” on the CD Guerrillas in the Mist by the rap group Da Lench Mob convinced me I’d better take a pass. As I strolled up and down the aisles of the music emporium, it occurred to me that the compact discs I’d been studying might merely be a bad batch of pirated CDs imported from
My experiences that day forced me to call into question The Wall Street Journal’s optimistic estimate that pirated compact discs account for only about 7 percent of the world’s recorded music and have yet to reach
Joe Queenan is a regular contributor on business issues, corporate culture, and financial follies to Barron’s and The Wall Street Journal.