Fun Facts About the CD on Its 25th B-Day
The mighty CD has hit the quarter century mark. That flat, round optical disc that has brought us so much great (and terrible) music over the years, not to mention loads of software and video games.
The format, originally developed by Sony and Phillips and intended to last 20 to 25 years, is still alive as it passes the upper stretch of its originally estimated lifespan. And though the CD has served us well, its birthday is no occasion for present-opening or piñata-slapping. At 25 years young, the CD is a sickly old man. Sure, it'll survive as a music format for a little while as slower technology adopters finally come around to buying iPods -- let's not forget that you can still buy blank cassette tapes some 20 years after they were first eulogized -- but the CD is still alive and well as a storage format and a means of distributing software and video games (despite the increasing preponderance of higher-capacity DVDs and Blu-Ray discs).
Looking forward, the whole concept of the hard copy as a means of distribution of entertainment content will eventually lose out to MP3s, downlodable movies, games and other digitally transferred media. All the more reason to celebrate the CD's birthday with a few of its milestones and fun facts:
- Originally, the expensive new format was marketed towards audiophiles, jazz lovers and classical music fans, who were generally more well off than pop or rock fans
- The first commercially available CD player was Sony's CDP-101 (pictured above), which cost $900
- The early prototype CDs were only 60 minutes long but were bumped up to 74 minutes to accommodate the entirety of Beethoven's '9th Symphony'
- The first CD produced was 'The Visitors' by ABBA
- The first CD produced in the U.S. was Bruce Springsteen's 'Born in the USA'