Audio CDs demystified

Excellent in-depth technical discussion of CD-audio, and how copy prevention systems (don't) work.
You betcha. Computers read data tracks first, but the data track has to be located at the end of the CD. Sounds confusing, but it has to be that way. In computer parlance, an Enhanced CD is a form of multisession CD. The CD is written to more than once; in the case of Enhanced CDs and Mac-PC hybrid CDs, this happens because you want to write two different types of data to the same CD. Audio CD players can only read the first session on a CD--again, no need or ability to know what multiple sessions are since an audio CD is expecting to see only audio CD tracks. So the audio content has to be the first thing on the disc, located on the inside of the disc surface. The data track is on the outside.

So if you take a magic marker--or, more dangerously a piece of electrical tape or a Post-it note--and use it to cover over that shiny band that divides the audio program from the data track, your computer won't realize that there even is a data track as it scans from the beginning of the CD--the inner part where the audio stuff is--to the outside looking for data. What your computer will see is a final audio track that seems to go on and on until it reaches the edge of the disk. This will put a whole lot of silence at the end of the last track when you rip the CD (a problem you can rectify using the Quicktime Player as an audio editor), but otherwise you'll be good to go.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Derek!)