Valve have recently (yesterday) made available a soundtrack for The Orange Box, available from their online store.
The 19 track CD contains tunes from Episodes One and Two, Team Fortress 2, and of course Portal. That naturally includes Still Alive, but there's also a bonus version of the song sung by its co-writer Jonathan Coulton.
The question is, don't we already have those songs on our computer? All the tunes bar one already exist on your machine, albeit in an encoded format. The trouble is, we all know how to get at those songs and have them as playable mp3s.
So is it some form of piracy to do that? We've paid for the games, the songs come with the games, can be heard in their entirity within the game, and with the correct tool, can easily be extracted from the game. So do Valve, by selling a separate "best of" collection, assume we won't? They're charging a weeny $9.95 (£5 approx) for the CD, so it's hardly a cruel attempt to milk their loyal customers. But it does seem a bit odd to essentially re-sell the same songs to us again.
Obviously, most people won't be arsed faffing around with applications and directory trees to get at the music, and so the CD will be a far better option for them. So, in conclusion, I dunno.
What I do know is that fuzzy-dice companion cubes are not the Plushies we were PROMISED in time for Christmas, and therefore it's not unreasonable to call for the head of Gabe Newell on a plate.
Someone at Valve, do you mind if we extract the songs from the data, rather than buy your CD? Tell us!