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CD is 25 years young

by on17 August 2007


The first digital consumer revolution

A quarter of a century ago, on August 17 1982, the first CD came of the assembly lines in Hanover, Germany. The first batch contained Richard Strauss' Alpine Symphony.

We have Philips and Sony to thank for the Compact Disc, Philips made the laser and disc technology and Sony developed the digital encoding used in the standard. Needless to say, the CD wasn't perfect. One of the worst packages we've ever seen was its original jewel box. This unwieldy chunk of cheap plastic was, and still is, hard to open and amazingly easy to break.

It would take some time before the new and expensive standard took over from vynil and cassettes. Five years later, in 1987, CD players started outselling LP players, and next year CDs outsold vynil LPs for the first time, and we all know where it went from there.

The CD ruled the nineties, and the recording industry loved it, since its quality was quickly recognized by consumers. The second half of the decade, with the advent of cheap CD-RW drives and media, saw a rampant jump in piracy, and the new century threatened it with flash based MP3 players.

New high definition standards aren't doing great either, since the sound quality of the plain CD or MP3 is enough for most people and more and more consumers put an emphasis on portability and ease of use, i.e. they'll rather buy iPods and other MP3 players.

Last modified on 17 August 2007
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