CD-R Duplicators: Part 2
The Market: Who Needs Them?
Some years ago, we did a survey that asked responder what kinds of applications they used CD-Recordable for. The categories we decided covered just about everything were:
- Publishing (in-house, corporate or public)
- Distributing data or software test sets
- Short-term data organization and storage
By the way, the content stored on disc for any of these applications can be any digital material -- computer data, music, video, images, software programs, etc.
The Need for Speed
A single CD-Recorder can be used to publish or distribute or archive or organize data in a small way, but for more than a few discs to be produced in a reasonable time (or even in an unreasonable hurry), a better method is desirable. When I operated a CD-R service bureau some years ago, I would have gladly used such a device when customers wanted several identical discs in a hurry. It was not unusual for someone to have to work all night reloading the recorder as discs were finished to meet a deadline. It took too much time, and it was very boring, but stressful, work. Watching the clock, and trying to calculate exactly how much time would be required to produce a number of discs of a specific content size was not much fun at all, especially when there was a courier schedule to meet, or an impatient client waiting.
Enterprising companies have created ways to fill the need for multiple disc recording. Duplicators of many and varied descriptions are now available, and represent a large and growing segment of the high end of the recording systems available.
In general, since duplicators are inherently more expensive than single recorders, the expected market for these devices is different, and smaller, than for simple CD-Rs. However, as consumers of CD-R media, duplicator users may account for a larger share of that market than people who make discs one at a time. While new applications and thus new categories of users are always being developed, here is what we believe to be the breakdown of duplicator buyers at this time:
- Service Bureaus (including disc replicators also offering duplication services)
- Disc Publishers (including in-house corporate publishers)
- Enterprise workgroups
These groups fit the first two of our earlier-identified four major CD-R user groups, and could also include some archivists, since one strategy for archiving involves making multiple copies of a disc to store in separate locations. In some cases, enterprise work groups might also use a centrally accessible duplicator with an autoloader (on a network, in most cases) to organize and store data that has a short expected usefulness, so all four of our general categories of users might easily find duplicators worth investigating, and investing in.