Volume 96, Issue 59
Wednesday, January 15, 2002

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The burning question: to burn or not to burn?

Whoa, Maggie
Maggie Wrobel
A&E Editor

Writing a column denouncing CD burning is like saying Avril Lavigne is hardcore – it's sure to be a disputed, unpopular opinion.

CD burning is a sticky issue that's been debated up and down in every medium of the media, with people pulling out percentages and facts to support burning. In a twist of irony, insanely wealthy artists such as Britney Spears and DMX filmed TV spots to ask people to stop downloading and burning their music.

I don't have any percentages to support my opinion, and I sure as hell don't support Britney Spears, but I believe that burning is wrong. For me, it's not a question of legalities or finances, it is a question of discipline and respect.

When I was younger, I got an allowance of $2 a week and therefore knew I had to make that money last. If I wanted to buy something bigger, I knew I had to save up for it, and that prolonged my desire for it and drove me to discipline.

After saving up for a few weeks, buying whatever it was I desired at the time was that much sweeter.

Is this a lost ideal?

The fact is, today we live in a society that teaches us that instant gratification is the only way to go.

There's nothing wrong with downloading a few songs to check out an artist's sound, or with making a mixed CD for that hot guy in your psych class. However, borrowing and burning your friend's Jimmy Eat World CD because you're not willing to save up some money to support the artist is just plain selfish and lazy.

I know that CD prices are high, but used CD stores offer great deals on CDs that are often still in perfect condition. If you want something badly enough, you should be willing to spend a bit of time seeking it out.

I'm pretty sure the same people who burn their friends' CDs because they claim they can't afford them are the same people who eat at overpriced Centre Spot every day.

CD burning is a choice and I choose not to – now bring on the hate mail.
Where's Chip?
Dale Wyatt
A&E Editor

Have you ever made a mix tape? Have you ever taped a movie you rented? If the answer is yes to either of these, then you can't look down upon CD burning.

I remember the first time I learned about Napster, and the sheer excitement I got after I downloaded my first song – "Tijuana Jail" by Gilby Clark.

Not familiar with Clark? There is a good reason for that: he only wrote one great song. So why spend upwards of $20 to acquire one song? It just doesn't make sense.

I can't lie and say that I only download rarities and singles, nor can I say that I don't condone burning an entire CD.

If I want a CD badly enough, or if there's a band I truly care about, I'll buy the CD. I may burn it until I can afford to buy it, but it will eventually grace my collection.

I have yet to hear of any large mainstream artist going broke due to CD burning. Arguably, the most downloaded artist, Eminem, is doing just fine.

The Recording Industry Association of America Music estimated that, in 2001, CD burning led to a 10 per cent decline in sales worldwide. However, let's not forget other important factors, like the rise in CD prices and low incomes. Many just can't afford to buy numerous CDs. It's an expensive hobby.

It is humourous that companies like Sony – who are fighting CD burning – are one of the biggest producers of blank CDs, advertising right on the CD packages that they are useful for creating music CDs.

Burning has been around for years, and if it was going to have a huge impact, causing artists to go broke, then we would have seen it happen by now. Instead, companies have adjusted by raising concert, clothing and CD prices.

It basically comes down to a matter of respect for an artist – not the industry. If you have the money and like an artist, hopefully you will have the courtesy to support them; for if the tables were turned, I am sure you would want the same respect.


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