memo from John Oswald concerning the “tunes” disc from the 69plunderphonics96 set

There are currently serious problems on most newer computer platforms with playback of the 2nd CD of the plunderphonics Cd/book set published by Seeland on behalf of FONY.
– The same CD continues to play fine on all the stand-alone players we’ve tested, including DVD & BluRay players. 
The intricate notes of the package booklet are co-ordinated to a track numbering of 27 to 60 for that disc. 
– We have several hundred packages from our last pressing that we would like to distribute in a form that everybody can play, and at the same time appreciate the intricacies that are part of the design.
So we’re going to add a 3rd disc to the package which is essentially the 2nd disc with normal track numbering, along with a card with a chart showing how the track numbers correspond with the notes and indexing in the booklet.
This 3rd disc fits securely into one of the 2 digipak trays along with the existing disc. this increases the weight of the package by 15 grams (half an ounce) and so should have a negligible effect on shipping costs.
— We’re sorry for the resulting fuss, but happy that your extra efforts to check out the problem have led us to discover how pervasive it has become in recent years. because we received so few complaints, and have not kept up with how the computer companies have revised their music playback software, we were not aware of how many listeners are affected by the current situation. we have sold close to 10,000 of these packages over the past 13 years, and we have had less than half a dozen complaints. 
— Most people who are interested in our projects enjoy the complexities that we design into them, so perhaps that interest and curiosity has led some of them to find alternate playback solutions.
— The availability of on-line streaming and digital downloads of individual tracks on ITunes, eMusic, Spotify, is a convenient option, but we do not recommend downloading the entire set, it is neither cost-effective nor complete, because none of the services mentioned have included the accompanying 48-page booklet in any form. It features 37,000 words of interviews and essays, and is ‘lavishly illustrated with full color collages”.

a brief history:

The Sony \ Phillips Redbook of rules for how CDs and CD players should interact includes some seldom-used features, such as sub-track indexing; which manufacturers of cheap players would sometimes ignore. One Redbook approved feature is to have a CD have track sequences that don’t begin with 'track 1'. The purpose of this is to allow multivolume sets to have consecutive numbering through the set, so, for example, in the case of a talking book, the tracks could correspond with the chapter numbers of the book.
At FONY we’ve often used some of the arcane aspects of allowable CD programming to make a more interesting package.
69plunderphonics96 was released in April of 2001, about the same time Apple released iTunes in System 9. 
Because this was our first use of consecutive-disc-numbering, prior to our release we had tested the discs in several players, and all seemed well. 
After our release we became aware that the 2nd disc would not play properly in this new iTunes thing— Consequently in a subsequent repressing of the package we added the line about Apple computers in the booklet.
About the same time Apple, who we had contacted about the problem, released a new version of iTunes in the new OSX, and this player read our 2nd disc just fine.
We’ve discovered in retrospect that perhaps with the switch in Macs to the Intel chip in 2006 iTunes began to have A bit of difficulty again reading the 2nd disc (wrong track #s) and the problem has only gotten worse in the more recent versions that we’ve been able to test.
Also, at some point Windows players have begun to have problems playing back the discs.
Even though many computers no longer have CD disc drives, this is a problem which we have decided to address.

If you are absolutely unable to play your old copy of the tunes disc please cantact us : sales at

John Oswald
Director of Research