Unlocking The Legendary Decks
A few weeks ago I received an email from Enjoy The Ride Records, who press limited copies of some pretty interesting records. This email was a bit different though. Instead of vinyl records, they were announcing a release date for cards with music on them by Giovanni Rotondo (who's written some really great stuff!). The idea is that these NFC cards, called Legendary Decks, are the only medium you can use to listen these new songs by tapping them to the back of your phone.
They also have AR markers in the corners for future features, and there is also talk of making a game that uses these cards.
Now, I'm a sucker for products that bridge physical and digital realms (I was smitten with Skannerz when I was a kid). I'm also a total music nerd. So I bought both of the two first card releases.
I finally received them a couple days ago (at the time of this writing) and got down to researching if I can listen to the songs without the cards.
Sure enough, within 10 mins, I had the songs downloaded to my laptop.
The cards are pretty simple. Neon pink acrylic the size of playing cards with stickers on the front and back. The back is the same on both cards, like any trading card game. The front has the character and the aforementioned AR marker. I don't want to destroy these cards to see where the actual NFC chip is, but I'm assuming it's about in the center.
When you tap the card to the back of your phone, a URL pops up. When you click the URL, you are brought to Giovanni Rotondo's site and are asked to log in to listen to the song. Once you log in, you are presented to the card's page with the song on it. Neat.
I simply copied the URL, sent it to my laptop, opened it in my browser, opened up dev tools, searched for
mp3, found the URL, opened it in a new tab, and the song was downloaded. Hmmm.
What does this mean?
I love the idea of these, but the way they currently work, exclusivity is easily broken. I was hoping there was at least some browser-based DRM or something I had to mess with, but nothing was there stopping me from downloading and distributing (I would never) the songs.
I also question how exclusive these cards will actually be for the future game that's planned. If I can copy this URL and send it to someone, won't they be able to "claim" the card too? I did dump the NFC data using my handy dandy Flipper Zero. There's not much there but the URL shown below (I hid the song ID).
This was decoded form the hex, so maybe these extra symbols are different per card and create some sort of identifier, but they weren't needed to access the song from my computer.
Not trying to ruin the fun
I'm still enjoying the art and the songs! I'm just sad knowing these songs will easily escape the cards. They lose a bit of their magic. Maybe future ones will be more locked down and retain a bit more of their exclusivity. For now, I'm going to enjoy listening to these songs and waiting in anticipation for the AR features and future game.