While piracy threats continue to come from various technologies, RIAA chief executive Mitch Bainwol recently highlighted the importance of unauthorized CD burning and ripping.
At the recent NARM convention in San Diego, Bainwol pointed to data showing that 29 percent of all recorded music obtained in 2004 was either burned or ripped from others. The figures, supplied by NPD Group, also showed that music obtained from illegal file-sharing accounted for 16 percent of total sales, with paid downloads accounting for 4 percent of the total. That helped Bainwol underscore the importance of copy-protected CDs, which limit the amount of rips and burns a consumer can make from a purchased disc.
Total blank CD-R sales surpassed pre-recorded discs a long time ago, and most desktop PCs now come equipped with both CD- and DVD-burning decks. But CD-burning has always had a hand-in-glove relationship with P2P downloading, making a distinct categorization of each medium difficult. Meanwhile, a surge in portable MP3 players – led by the Apple iPod – is causing many music fans to move on from the burned disc entirely. That trend is being accelerated by new iPod-enabled dashboards and FM-transmitter add-ons like the BlueTrip from Griffin Technologies, both of which make it easier to listen to a playlist on-the-go. For more and more consumers, that is preferable to creating a disc, with the iPod helping to eliminate the in-between steps of assembling, burning, and labeling CD-Rs.