The burning question:
to burn or not to burn?
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
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
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
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.