This article is from the CD-Recordable FAQ, by Andy McFadden (email@example.com) with numerous contributions by others.
"Consumer" stand-alone audio CD recorders require special blanks.
See section (5-12) for details. There is no difference in quality or
composition between "data" blanks and "music" blanks, except for a flag that
indicates which one it is. It's likely that "music" blanks are optimized
for recording at 1x, since anything you record "live" is by definition
recorded at 1x (though some dual-drive systems allow track copying at
You don't have to use "music" blanks to record music on a computer or on
a "professional" stand-alone audio CD recorder. Nothing will prevent
you from doing so, but there's no advantage to it.
The "music" blanks are more expensive than the "data" blanks because a
portion of the price goes to the music industry. The specifics vary from
country to country. In the USA, the money goes to the RIAA, which
distributes it to artists who have navigated through a complicated
Some manufacturers have on occasion marked low-quality data discs as being
"for music", on the assumption that small errors will go unnoticed. Make
sure that, if you need the special blanks, you're getting the right thing.
(Technically, there are actually three kinds of blanks: type 1a for CD-ROM
or professional audio recording, type 1b for special-purpose applications
like PhotoCD, and type 2 for unrestricted use. "Music" blanks are type 2,
"data" blanks are type 1a.)
Some disc manufacturers label "music" blanks as "universal use", since
they will work on anything.