CD label applicator


Dear bleak future,

Before the entirety of human experience was uploaded to government-searchable cloud-based storage devices owned by large untrustworthy corporations, humans stored data on mildly inconvenient storage devices like diskettes, magnetic tape, compact discs and digital video discs. The capacity of these devices was limited, but society was more easily satisfied then. Imagine being entertained by a video game that could fit on a 2 megabyte diskette. Yes, it’s true!

Early forms of sharing music involved handing someone one of these media and hoping that it would be returned. Or people would congregate at a physical location like an apartment, house or workplace and listen to the same music played over a stereo, gramophone, or “hi-fi”. With the emergence of recordable media like cassettes and CDs music sharing changed in a dramatic way, viz., the mix tape.

A mix tape or CD was a customized musical compilation. High school students would “burn” CDs for their “crushes” in hopes of eventually “bumping uglies” with them. The mix tape was an art form demonstrating one’s connection to both the recipient of the tape and to the music within.

For those who took particular care when burning CDs for others (like this author) one could apply a blank paper sticker to the CD. Being of congruent size and shape the sticker needed to be applied precisely. The pictured device allowed one to affix an adhesive label so it was centred on the disc. One would then use a “black Sharpie” to write the name of the tracks and/or artists and/or a compilation name of your choice, e.g., “awesome jams”.

Eventually music sharing became an an obscenely public exercise involving wireless transmission, and electronic approbation in the form of likes, plus ones, and other ephemera. The notion of physical contact as regards music became, like this device, laughably antique and quaint.


The miserable past