01 October 2007

Compact Discs at 25

Yet another anniversary today. The first ever Compact Disc player was sold 25 years ago today. It was sold in Japan along with the first CD, Billy Joel's 52nd Street (the Japanese have strange tastes!). So here's a few facts about the ubiquitous shiny little disc.

  • Although Phillips and Sony, who developed the technology together, weren't certain it would be a success, it took only until 1988 for compact disc sales to over take those of vinyl and cassettes.
  • The data storage capabilities of cds help establish their popularity as the personal computer became more of a household object and tape storage became inefficient.
  • Initially the CD would only hold an hour of music. Sony fought for 80 minutes, claiming that it would need to be that long to hold Beethoven's 9th Symphony on one disc. Although it's claimed that Sony pushed for the change in technology so it could catch up with Phillips on production of it's players.
  • The first Sony Discman appeared in 1984 but it didn't take off until non-skip technology appeared in the 1990's.
  • Although music download sales are having the same effect of cd sales as CDs had on vinyl, record companies still sell 32% more than they did 10 years ago.
  • The first million selling album was Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits
  • In 25 years more than 200 billion CDs have been sold.
  • Global sales of CD albums peaked in the year 2000 with 2.455 billion sold. By 2006 sales had dropped to 1.755 billion.

I got to the whole compact disc revolution a bit late. The first CD I got was Bjork's debut solo album, err... Debut.

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