Disc Wizards

What can a CD be use for?

The compact disc has a variety of uses - we talk about the practical and more unusual uses for the humble CD in the below article.

CDs and DVDs are an integral and universally accepted data format to the extent everyone would recognise a CD or DVD disc and know how to use one.

CDs can be used to store music, video and data, and below we look at the various applications for the CD and how it is being distributed within different industries, from advertising to educational, and it’s applications within social circles.​

Fig 1: CD case used for product advertisment


We have all at some point been offered free CDs, be it free discs offered at supermarkets, on the front of a magazine or newspaper or directly posted to us.

CDs are a great marketing tool, as in the case of software promotion, not only can information about the software be contained on the disc but the actual software itself can be on the same disc, this saves an immense cost when the need for an accompanying printed brochure is not required. Not only is the cost of printing the brochure saved, but the associated distribution cost of that brochure.

CDs have a huge penetration in the global market. Almost every household would have a device that can play the disc to include a computer, CD music player, or even DVD video player, therefore we can ensure an advertising campaign on CD can be listened or viewed by anyone.

If a company has a huge catalogue of products, such as an electrical component company, or building supplies, then it is vastly cheaper to feature the full catalogue on a CD disc. The user can make intelligent searches for products they require and directly find this information, rather than wading through pages of pages of unrelated products.

A big benefit of having the full product catalogue on CD is the huge saving on the cost of the paper and printing, CD offers an alternative to hundreds of catalogue pages.

Educational CDs

CD is a portable and cheap data storage format. For this reason, they are very popular in schools and colleges. Lecturers are able to hand out their recorded talks on CDs, even being able to record a whole semester or terms work on to a disc and pass it on to students.

In turn, students can copy their assignments onto disc for easy storage and movement. With re-writable discs, the same disc can be used over and over by students, thus providing multiple economies of scale from the investment into a single disc.

Fig 2: CD in DVD digipack being used as an educational tool
Fig 3: CDs being used for churches

Church CD duplication and other faiths

CDs make an ideal way to spread the word of your ministry or gospel. It is possible to store up to 78 minutes of audio on a CD, or if the audio is saved to MP3 format, then the CD can hold hours of the spoken word.

This means many sermons, talks and preaching’s can go on to a single disc, and a person can listen to the spoken word in the comfort of their car, home or whilst exercising.

At the Work Place

As above CDs are a wonderful storage and archiving medium. As any format of file can be written on to the disc, everything from designs, spreadsheets, databases, letters, contracts, emails backups, pictures, video and audio can be stored and backed up to disc.

Another use in the workplace is to use the CD as a business card, and a rectangular CD has been created for this very purpose. On the top of the disc, is a print not dis-similar to a regular business card, however the magic starts when you put the ‘business card’ in your computer, it acts as a regular CD or data storage!

The possibilities are endless, for example, a graphic design company could contain their portfolio of work directly stored on the business card, likewise, an animation or filming company could have their showreel video copied onto the disc.

A construction or architect company could have many photographs of their buildings or interior design stored on the card, therefore the user not only has your contact details, but examples of your work immediately at hand.

What is particular useful about this is Disc Wizards are able to provide you with just the printed discs, so you can customise the content of the business card CD for each customer by burning only the content you want them to see and tailor it for your clients requirements.

CD digipack 6 panel
Fig 4: CD usage at the workplace.
CD digipack 6 panel
Fig 5: A custom die-cut 6 panel digipack with 2 CDs.

CD duplication for bands and musicians

This article would not be complete unless we talk about how the CD can be used for music.

Whether you require a short run of promo CDs or a full CD pressing of your latest music album, the CD is the ideal format for this release. A wide range of CD cases are available for your CD duplication project, and most cases available from 100 units upwards.

With the wide variety of custom cases, the short run CD duplication job can look as individualistic and unique as the music stored on the CDs.

Free cover mount supplementary gift

The low manufacture cost of a CD enables it to be used as a marketing tool. For example, many study books now come with an accompanying CD to support the material contained in the book. A person is more likely to purchase the book with has a free CD, as it would be perceived as more useful, not only can they read the book, but the CD would contain supporting examples, and possibly even content that is interactive, making for a more rewarding learning experience.

Apart from the above commercial usage of CDs, people can make a custom CD as a gift for a friend or family member. It could contain holiday video and snaps as well as their favourite songs, custom authored for the person in mind. It makes for a very unique and individual gift to give a close family member or friend.

Fig 6: CD used for magazine cover mount.

Mini DVD – A CD that thinks it’s a DVD

A lot of people do not know this, but it is possible to burn a DVD onto CD. The only caveat is we are limited to a storage space of about 700mb, this means about 24 mins of video on the CD, without compromising the quality of the video. Most DVD players will recognise the CD as a DVD disc and will be able to play the stored video. Please note that if you intend this disc for commercial distribution, then we would not recommend this method, and rather encode directly to a DVD duplicated disc. This is because the playability of a CD encoded as DVD is not 100% compliant with all DVD players, and will vary from player to player, depending on whether it can recognise the disc.

Collectors’ Items

For many years, music labels and film companies see the benefit in providing collector sets. This may typically be the whole back catalogue of an artist all contained on 2-10 disc sets. What makes the compilation special is the unique CD packaging the discs are contained in. These types of cases are typically designed to hold more than 1 disc, and therefore are rarer than a regular plastic CD case. Usually the case is custom designed and quite often incorporated card boxes as well as plastic trays to make a unique custom case, specific to that release. Very often the release is limited, and each case can have a unique serial number to confirm its authenticity, therefore potentially increasing in value over time.

In-expensive coaster or Christmas tree decoration

OK so time for some light-humoured, alternative uses for a CD. Let’s face it, we have all at some time burned a CD that has either failed to write correctly, or has had the wrong content burnt on to the disc making it unusable for its intended purpose. Rather than throw away the disc, it can be put to use. How about as a coaster for your morning cup of coffee or tea, or it can be used as a decoration on Christmas trees or as part of children’s arts and crafts projects.

Above are just a few of the examples for the use of a CD. As you can see there are many useful uses for the CD, some which it’s inventors intended it for, and other not so serious uses, which even the inventors of the CD may not have envisaged.

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