Did people ever play the CD-ROMs/"Enhanced" Content that came with CDs? Maybe if you were a Todd Rundgren fan. Did anyone watch the excellent Quicktime videos?

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i never did...

scott seward, Friday, 21 July 2017 04:14 (five years ago) link


scott seward, Friday, 21 July 2017 04:26 (five years ago) link

<i>When The Pawn</i> was one of these, and it was probably the first time a CD unexpectedly took my computer hostage after inserting it in the disc drive.

billstevejim, Friday, 21 July 2017 05:36 (five years ago) link

When The Pawn

billstevejim, Friday, 21 July 2017 05:36 (five years ago) link

One of my local shops has what I assume is a sealed new/old stock copy of Fleetwood Mac's Behind The Mask with a huge sticker on the cover explaining "Enhanced Content". That had to be one of the first albums to have that stuff (1990 release).

to fly across the city and find Aerosmith's car (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 21 July 2017 05:39 (five years ago) link

nope. never.

mark e, Friday, 21 July 2017 09:26 (five years ago) link

Meat puppets yes
Pretty Things yes
Einsturzende Neubauten Ende Neu yes
I think a few other ones too.

Stevolende, Friday, 21 July 2017 09:31 (five years ago) link

i remember buying this INTERACTIVE CD-ROM MAGAZINE in 1995 and trying to convince myself its bold mix of written content, photos and short, grainy videos that looked like they'd been filmed through a screen door was going to be the future


he tasted like mouth (bizarro gazzara), Friday, 21 July 2017 09:34 (five years ago) link

When The Pawn was one of these, and it was probably the first time a CD unexpectedly took my computer hostage after inserting it in the disc drive.

― billstevejim, Friday, 21 July 2017 05:36 (four hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

The 1999 Bowie reissues did this and I think my Police CDs did too. I only got around to actually putting them in a computer when I was ripping everything to iTunes so I just found it annoying.

That said I do remember watching the videos from Trail of Dead's Secret of Elena's Tomb EP. Also the one for 'Lucky Denver Mint' on the CD reissue of Jimmy Eat World's Clarity. This was pre-YouTube obviously.

Gavin, Leeds, Friday, 21 July 2017 10:18 (five years ago) link

I remember in the late '90s "enhanced content" was the next "thing" for CD singles after multi-formatting... usually the video for the song or some "message from the band" type of crap.

After a while they stopped putting the content on the CD's themselves and had the CD open up a web browser where you could access the exclusive content online... pretty much all of these things no longer work now as a result.

The Anti-Climax Blues Band (Turrican), Friday, 21 July 2017 11:37 (five years ago) link

I have all of these saved in a folder, favorites include the Throwing Muses "Fish" video and, uh.... some other ones

sleeve, Friday, 21 July 2017 14:07 (five years ago) link

no world order was visionary

brimstead, Friday, 21 July 2017 14:17 (five years ago) link

I think there was some CD-ROM content on Wu Tang Forever where they were making fun of internet nerds

President Keyes, Friday, 21 July 2017 14:18 (five years ago) link

I think the only one I ever played was an early daft punk album. You got access to extra tracks that could only be played with the player you had to install

Odysseus, Friday, 21 July 2017 16:33 (five years ago) link



With Enhanced CD, Wu-Tang Clan Expands Its Universe

The multimedia posse has arrived.

"Wu-Tang Forever," the long-awaited new album by the rap-music nonet Wu-Tang Clan, shot into the charts last week at the No. 1 spot, having sold more than 300,000 copies since its June 3 debut.

At nearly two hours, the double-CD set is a sprawling chronicle of the desperate war and uneasy peace that constitutes the Clan's view of modern urban life. As their coarse language erupts out of a series of insistent rhythm tracks, only the occasional swell of strings or an odd classical keyboard flourish arises to sweeten the relentlessly gritty texture.

If "Wu-Tang Forever" is not especially revolutionary in its message, it can be seen as a triumph of scope in its extended length and in its number of narrative voices.

That scope has been expanded even further by the group's use of futuristic technology. One of the album's two compact discs is an enhanced CD that has been designed to yield yet another view of Wu-Tang Clan's universe.

Costing no more than a conventional audio disc and playable in the CD-ROM drive of both Windows-based and Macintosh personal computers, the ECD provides entry to the Wu Mansion, a three-level structure with rooms representing each of the clan's members.

The top two floors of the mansion, easily navigable with QuickTime VR, are more notable for the sharp objects on the walls than the blunt comments of their inhabitants or the information furnished in each room.

The surroundings are rendered in a cartoon-like style that pays equal homage to the set designer of Star Trek and the weapons master of a Bruce Lee chopsocky flick -- Wu-Fu, as it were.

In addition to the exotic swords and axes that dominate the decor, each room has a television console that displays some biographical background on each rapper and a brief video clip.

So, in this comic-book cosmos, Masta Killa reveals that he has the strength of a ninja and the artist politely known as Dirty mutters the phrase "Give me a kiss." A smattering of hidden hot buttons serve up additional digital tidbits.

Only after the eight rooms on the upper floors have been explored are visitors to the basement able to control the audio-video playback console of the RZA, the album's producer.

Segments of previous Wu-Tang videos can be screened from the console, and with password-enabled access, six short ECD-only videos also can be viewed.
In the first of these "shout outs," the RZA proclaims: "You don't got to go to summer school. Just plug in this CD into your CD-ROM or into your sound system and let the sound and lights take you away, and get all the education you need right here." In another, transcribed here in its entirety, Dirty remarks, "I ain't got too much to say."

To learn the necessary passwords that unlock the videos, ECD owners are urged to go to the Clan's Web site and fill out a questionnaire from its label, Loud Records. The form does not have to be completed fully to produce a password, which is delivered later via e-mail.

Based on a weekend experiment, it took about 12 hours for the information to show up. Those seeking more immediate gratification can pick up all of the passwords from some of the Clan-fan Web sites.

As of Monday, more than 40,000 registrants had applied to the Web site for passwords, according to Gabriel Levy, manager of interactive music for BMG Entertainment North America, the album's distributor.

Levy, who also served as executive producer of the ECD portion of the Clan album, said, "We see it less as standalone multimedia content than as a bridge from the offline world to the online world."

To encourage this activity, the ECD offers installation software, including a Web browser, for America Online, plus 50 free hours of connection time to the service.

The Clan's Web site, though, is still very much a work in progress. Only one of the nine onsite biographies had been activated as of late last week and the FAQ area was empty.


Carrying none of the commercial clout of Aerosmith or Wu-Tang Clan, Michael Penn's third and best album runs the risk of disappearing down a long and winding retail road, which would be a shame since Resigned is the best Beatles-inspired recording to be released since the very un-"Real Love." With Penn often singing at his most Lennonesque, the 40-minute disc is filled with memorable melodies and peppered with "Revolver"-era song quotes and production touches. Although the album is an enhanced CD, the multimedia content offers little more than a few video clips and a complete set of lyrics (which also are on the Web site). Studio-session credits would have been more welcome. The backward guitars on "Try" are easy to pick out, but is that really a mellotron at the end "Out of My Hands"? With all due respect to Wu-Tang, Penn demonstrates that "Strawberry Fields" is the music that may last forever.


State of the Art is a navigable 3-D gallery that showcases works by three German artists. More curator-style annotation is needed for the art, but the virtual environment is a model for easy online wandering. Be sure to make it to the "art cube" at the end of an upstairs corridors, where visitors can float in the middle of an Escher-like space with no clear up or down. The site was developed for Intel Corp. by Superscape, a London-based software firm.

Most remarkably, neither the ECD, its liner notes nor the Web site contain the album's prodigious and profane lyrics, which already are appearing on fan sites. This may be intended to protect tender parental sensibilities, since passages with offending language have been removed from the audio excerpts that play on the Web site.

The immediate sales success of "Wu-Tang Forever" marks the second time that an enhanced CD has entered the Billboard charts in the No. 1 position.

Aerosmith first performed the feat in early April after the launch of its "Nine Lives" recording. The disk's primary multimedia feature allows non-musicians to play along with each song from the computer keyboard.

Brett Atwood, interactive editor for Billboard Magazine, said enhanced CDs are beginning to overcome their industry reputation as a costly add-on that was favored by progressive artists and plagued with compatibility issues.

"Companies are still supporting the format despite a lot of early problems with it technically," Atwood said. "It's getting less experimental and more mainstream in terms of the types of acts we're seeing embrace this. As indicated by Aerosmith and Wu-Tang Clan, they're high-profile artists; they [record labels] aren't sneaking these things out there."

He said most consumers remain unaware of multimedia content on an ECD, even though an increasing number of young listeners are using their computer's CD-ROM drive as an audio-CD player.

"The experience still needs to get a little more compelling to draw more people into it," Atwood said. "People buy CDs for music first and foremost. That hasn't changed at all and I don't see that changing in the near future. But I do think you'll see more of these. It's another way for the record companies to position their artists as career artists. Just like music videos, it helps add an image."

Also spurring the growth, he said, was the decline in cost of multimedia development.

"It's always been a practical matter of how much the record companies have been willing to invest in the creation of this content, and it's evolved to a place where it can be done fairly efficiently for a reasonable amount of money," Atwood asserted. "And the infrastructure is already there, so a lot of the growing pains are behind the format."

Still, not all computer-savvy music fans are rushing to take their new enhanced CDs for a spin.

Charles Sued (pronounced "swade") is president of Upstairs Records, a Brooklyn retailer specializing in urban music. He already has sold 500 copies of the Wu-Tang Clan album through the commercial Web site he established three years ago.

"The rap market is really big into computers now," he said. "If you look in the newsgroups, there's alt.rap and rec.music.hip-hop, which are really big. Those guys are going to get an added bonus because they'll also be able to look at the multimedia stuff. But a majority of the units that are being sold have got to be for the actual music."

What does Sued think of the multimedia portion of "Wu-Tang Forever"?

"I'll be honest with you," he said. "I haven't popped it into my computer yet."

marcos, Friday, 21 July 2017 16:36 (five years ago) link

also krs-one i got next

marcos, Friday, 21 July 2017 16:37 (five years ago) link

think those are the only two i've ever opened and both were in the 90s

marcos, Friday, 21 July 2017 16:37 (five years ago) link

First one I saw was Emperor's Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk, which had a video for one of the songs on the album. At a time when I was just getting back into metal, and into Norwegian black metal in particular, it was pretty great to be able to say, holy shit they actually look like what I'd imagined and more -- wearing robes and armor and carrying torches and riding through forests on horses, rather than the denim and leather, or even sweatpants and tennis shoes, that I remembered from the 80s death and thrash stuff. They looked like a live action D&D party. I hadn't had my imagination sparked by metal like that since getting obsessed with King Diamond's Abigail.

I love the little stylized border. So 1990s, like Myst.

Devilock, Friday, 21 July 2017 16:59 (five years ago) link

Most of these were pretty disappointed.

he doesn't need to be racist about it though. (Austin), Friday, 21 July 2017 17:04 (five years ago) link


he doesn't need to be racist about it though. (Austin), Friday, 21 July 2017 17:04 (five years ago) link

I eagerly snapped this up in 1997:

All I remember from the "enhanced content" was a brief audio interview with John Tchicai who said he wished Coltrane had played with Milford Graves at some point.

I still have this disc...I should see if it works.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Friday, 21 July 2017 17:49 (five years ago) link

what about floppy disks
radiohead ok computer screensaver from '97 promo??


brimstead, Sunday, 23 July 2017 18:38 (five years ago) link

byte the lightning!!


brimstead, Sunday, 23 July 2017 18:43 (five years ago) link

hmmmmmm @ this Sting CD-i "A Personal Exploration Of Mind, Soul And Music"


brimstead, Sunday, 23 July 2017 18:54 (five years ago) link

^i am saddened by the lack of high quality of scans of this

brimstead, Sunday, 23 July 2017 18:57 (five years ago) link

Leftfield's second album contained the video for "Africa Shox" as enhanced content. It's a great video.


grawlix (unperson), Sunday, 23 July 2017 18:59 (five years ago) link

I had some impenetrable Peter Gabriel CD-ROM game once. Called ... Eve?

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 23 July 2017 19:22 (five years ago) link


Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 23 July 2017 19:23 (five years ago) link


new noise, Sunday, 23 July 2017 19:24 (five years ago) link

sting rambling on like alan partidge.

new noise, Sunday, 23 July 2017 19:27 (five years ago) link

lol yeah or david brent

brimstead, Sunday, 23 July 2017 23:50 (five years ago) link

I'm more a fan of the bonus DVD.

self-clowning oven (Murgatroid), Monday, 24 July 2017 21:55 (five years ago) link

it should be said (maybe it has already) that todd was really sincere and involved in the interactive multimedia thing, he even wrote the software that became Paintbrush back in 81

brimstead, Monday, 24 July 2017 22:22 (five years ago) link

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