Weed FAQ

General CD-R FAQ:

There are many internet sites that can give you a quick and accurate overview of trading. For example, look here at this CDR FAQ. Another place to look at is Per Jakobsen’s site.

How a Weed works:

The weed, or weeding, is a way of sharing music. It is different from a normal one-on-one trading, trees and “B&Ps”. What is a weed?

A weed is a plant considered undesirable, unattractive, or troublesome, especially one growing where it is not wanted, as in a garden. It is also considered something useless, detrimental, or worthless, especially an animal unfit for breeding.

In the context of sharing music, that is not entirely inaccurate. This is how a weed works.

1. Someone starts “a weed”; this means that he / she is offering a show / concert to a community or newsgroup. The person who starts the weed is called the weeder.

2. Usually, the weeder mentions how many “free” copies of the show will be made available.

3. The weeder may also mention other conditions apart from the quantity involved; for example, he or she may prefer to allocate 2 out of 3 copies to those who have burners and will re-weed (more later) and 1 out of 3 copies to a person who does not have a burner. This may be loosely expressed as “2 & 1” or simply referred to as “the usual conditions”. The weeder may choose to allocate copies solely to people with burners who commit themselves to re-weeding the show.

4. If you are someone keen on the show, simply reply to the weeder informing him / her of your interest in the show that the weeder has offered.

5. It is imperative that you include your mailing address. Without this, your chance of being given a weed is less than zero.

6. Also mention whether and how you meet the weeder’s conditions (if any). For example, if the original weed offer said “2 & 1” and you do not have a burner, simply mention that to the weeder.

7. The next step is to wait for the weeder’s reply. The weeder has to decide whom to allocate the copies. It may be that the weeder randomly picks three out of the many number of requests.

8. If you are contacted, it is usually to inform you that you have been allocated one of the copies available. The weeder sends you the show. Be patient.

9. Your patience is rewarded. You receive the discs!!

a. If you are someone without a burner: Simply enjoy the music. Stop reading.
b. If you are someone with a burner & promised to re-weed: Enjoy the music. Read on.

10.   If you promised to re-weed, start a new post in the newsgroup or community where you originally found the original weed. In effect you become “the weeder” for the next round of copies. Those of you who were wondering whence (1) came from now know the answer.

A more colourful Weed primer is found here. Still confused? Try this site. Any questions? Mail me

Some qualifications:

Nothing is actually free. If you are a prospective weeder, bear in mind that it could cost approximately US$25 (for CD-R blanks, envelopes, stamps) per month if you take part in a weed per week.

The weed system works on trust. Theoretically, if all the participants of a particular weed re-weed, the trail of the original show is endless. The problem is when people make promises they don’t keep.

Weed FAQ:

Q. What type of discs should I use?
A. This is kind of tough. Since people are giving away shows, and you are receiving them at (virtually) no cost, it does seem unfair to demand a branded CD-R.

But consider this: a branded CD-R is less likely to cause extraction problems and less likely to fail to play. Also, considering that the price differential between branded and unbranded CD-Rs is narrowing, it makes sense to use a proper, longer-lasting CD-R to share music.

Q. What about cover art? Is it necessary to include cover-art with weeds?
A. A little easier to answer. Most people are quite happy with the shows on CD-R and consider artwork as a bonus. With the amply stocked artwork sites on the net, most of the cover art you are looking for is just a click away. A simple rule applies: if you’ve got them, share them.

Set lists, concert details (venue, date, etc.,) are always welcome and should be included, either electronically or on paper. Some people would rather that you not write on the discs; just include the details on a post-it or paper.

Q. What about tips on burning technique?
A. There are three important rules. First, always burn disc-at-once. This means that you exclude the 2-second gap between tracks. If you don’t know how to do this, pick up your CD-R writer manual and find out. Also, extract the audio files onto your hard disk first and then burn a copy on the CD-R. A good software to extract without errors is Exact Audio Copy.

Finally, burning speed. The newer models of CD-R writers claim to be able to burn at 48x and higher. This is great for data, but not good for audio tracks. Keep it at 8x (or 16x maximum). Important qualification: this is especially useful for older CD players (which sometimes cannot read CD-Rs burnt at faster speeds) but the general consensus is that it is OK to burn at faster speeds.

Q. I received a faulty disc. What should I do?
A. Ask around to find out if the fault is in the original (drop-outs, for example) or only on your disc. Inform the weeder of your problem. Chances are, they’ll send you a replacement disc.

The prevailing view is that you should not re-weed a faulty disc – those with 2-second gaps on live shows, pops, clicks, fuzzy patches, drop-outs. You’ll just be wasting your time and effort and disappointing those to whom you send copies to.

Weed FAQ compiled from a-m-r posts and aided by common sense.


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