Since the advent in the early noughties of the home CD Burner, their progress in technological importance has been astounding: From starting out as a simple replacement for floppy discs, being used mainly in the workplace to store data, they have become an intrinsic part of our technological lives. It used to be that they were a luxury for office men with a lot of money to spend on their computer to a regular feature in our laptops, desktops and even our CD players themselves! In fact, it would be very rare to find a computer which didn’t have a CD burning drive at all!
But what has the consequence been on, firstly commerce, and secondly, our own creativity?
In terms of business, the main issue that has arisen with the advent of the CD burner is that of copyright: We started out simply making each other mix-CDs but people quickly cottoned onto the fact that music could be illegally ripped and burnt from existing CDs and so started to share music this way! The music business has met the trend with full on force and often law suites are now heard of where people are sued enormous sums of money for illegally copying music. Even the film business is feeling the effect of home disc burners as, with the wider distribution of DVD burners, films are also being illegally copied and shared. However, the legal CD survives, first through a sense of honour and second because you will never get the same finish on a disc as you would with a professionally produced copy. The artwork and packaging can never have the same high quality finish as they do when you buy a professionally produced disc rather than using your home CD burner.
However, in this instance the pros far outweigh the cons of home CD burning: To start, CDs are just better than floppy discs for sharing information. CDs are more reliable, store more data and are slimmer. Aside from this, they have expanded creative opportunity for artists world-wide: You can now record and burn your own album at home or produce an amateur film! The opportunities presented to us on a musical and film-making front are now almost limitless! And we can create personal gifts with mix-CDs. I even know someone who keeps a diary through burning a CD each month of the music they were listening to to sum up the mood!
But don’t forget that sometimes in all this creativity that if you want many copies of a disc it is still often more economically viable to get someone to professionally burn your discs in bulk for you. And you will be guaranteed to get a professional finish which would be nearly impossible to create in your own home without great personal expense!