The flap over Sony BMG Music Entertainment’s infected copy-protected CDs shows few signs of abating.
Sony at first offered an uninstall program to get rid of the software, but that was found to attract viruses. On Nov. 18, the label said that it planned to release an updated virus-free uninstall program. Almost three weeks later, that program is scheduled to be released Monday on Sony BMG’s website. Many of the infected CDs are still in record stores.
“I could write the uninstall program in one day,” says Mark Russinovich, the blogger who first brought the world’s attention to the problem CDs.
USA TODAY late last week found XCP-free versions of some of the CDs, including titles by Bette Midler and Neil Diamond, at Tower Records, FYE and Virgin record stores in Los Angeles and San Francisco. But many CDs with XCP labels remained, including titles by Midler, Celine Dion and Switchfoot.
“This is a debacle,” says Gene Munster, an analyst with securities firm Piper Jaffray.
CD buyer Ron Sheban, 56, a St. Louis photographer, says he’s waited patiently for Sony’s uninstall program and has e-mailed the company several times.
“I never got a response,” says Sheban, who purchased a Chris Botti CD at his local Barnes & Noble. “I’m extremely frustrated.”
In the interim, many of the artists with XCP CDs have seen their sales tumble.
Neil Diamond, whose widely praised 12 Songs opened at No. 4 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart just two weeks ago, has fallen to No. 52 in the most recent chart. Bette Midler’s Peggy Lee Songbook fell to No. 157 from No. 51, while Chris Botti’s To Love Again:The Duets tumbled to No. 172 from No. 74.