I’ve had a couple of newsletter emails from System of a Down which are screaming at me (read all caps) about how I can listen to their new album Hypnotize exclusively on the websites for MTV & MTV2 from today.

So I go to MTV2.com (the link in the newsletter doesn’t take me direct to the page I want) and find the page, so far not too annoying. When I get to the page (all flash) it has a section next to the album details which says ‘System of a Down’ with pause & play buttons. It doesn’t appear to be doing anything, so I press play. Still nothing. I press play again and again, nothing. I check my connection and there is some traffic coming back when I press play so I wait - for five minutes, still nothing.

I give up and try IE, this time next to the pause & play buttons I have some text which says “transitioning”, which is nice and vauge. I wait a minute or so until the audio starts - hooray, who knew flash 7 player had cross-browser issues.

But my triumphant dance didn’t last long, after the first couple of bars I had to stop the track. I don’t know what quality encoding it is at but it sounded worse than 92kps, you know when you get that tinny recorded in a bath feeling on every cymbal hit. I’m a huge System fan and there is no way I’m listening to their new album for the first time at phone quality.

With a little hope in my heart that the preview has received better handling over at MTV.com I try that. It’s not to be found anywhere on the home page and I get distracted by something else, a video for the new Thrice single “Image of the Invisible”, which I click to watch that instead.

MTV really don’t like me today do they, I get their advert/introduction and then nothing. I press play again on the embedded Media Player and I get the watch the advert/introduction again, but still no video.

So I decide to try watch it on launch, I’ll compress my experience on launch to bullet points:

  • Find Video, click to watch.
  • Receive error message: “To use this application with Netscape, you must use a 4.7x or 7.1 version.”. Well I’m pretty certain that Firefox 1.0.7 is better than Netscape 7.1 and a lot better than 4.7x.
  • Try IE.
  • Find Video, click to watch.
  • Receive error message: “This video is not available in your area. Please choose another video or visit your local Yahoo! UK & Ireland music service”.
  • Try to think if I’ve ever managed to watch a video on launch.
  • Vow never to use launch again.

Now I’d quite like to check out the new Thrice stuff as I don’t listen to radio (not that there is any good rock radio in the UK) and don’t get chance to watch music television anymore. So I check out the official Thrice website, sure enough there is 3 links for the video in different formats on the homepage. Again I’ll compress my experience to bullet points:

  • Choose Quicktime.
  • Receive message that Quicktime needs to install something (which it then can’t find) to play the content, and only get the audio.
  • Choose Media Player.
  • Receive message: “You must be a member of Thrice.net to watch the full-length version… To watch 30 seconds, select below.”
  • Give it up as a bad job.

So tonight I learnt that I might be interested in the new albums from Thrice & System of a Down, but got no idea as to the quality of the content of the albums via the official record industry provided routes.

The music industry sure is working hard to make sure people don’t go to those pesky P2P networks with their reliable downloads at high quality.

The fact that I am going to buy the new System album no matter what does not enter into this, the bottom line is that music fans should not have to accept this poor treatment. If I had been in two minds about whether to get the new System album or not then the shoddy quality of the preview would not have swayed me towards a purchase.