32 years ago today, the next evolution in music was born in the small German town of Langenhagen. The compact disc revolutionized the music industry. Gone were the days of flipping a record or cassette over, or waiting for an 8-track to do, well, whatever it is that 8-tracks do. Now you could listen to your favorite album from beginning to end with no interruptions.
The technology was pioneered by electronics giant Philips, who opened the plant in Langenhagen in 1979, and pressed the first compact disc later that same year. On August 17, 1982, the first commercial compact disc was produced. It was, ironically enough, a recording from 1979 of Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau performing a series of Chopin waltzes. To mark the occasion, Arrau himself went to the Langenhagen plant to press the start button on the first public playing.
By the end of the year cds were on sale in Japan, and by March of the following year, they were available for purchase in the US and Europe. It’s funny to think that this technology is now on the verge of extinction. Many laptops no longer have disc drives, and there are virtually no tablets for sale with disc drives. It’s a sad time for children of the late 80s and early 90s, such as myself, who were raised on this revolutionary technology, to see it now suffering on life support.
Thirty years is a hell of a run for any technology, however, particularly when it comes to software. It’ll be interesting to see what becomes of cds over the next five years or so. Actually, we can get a pretty good idea of what’s becoming of CDs now. Downloads are big, vinyl is a legit niche market, and the compact disc is quickly becoming forgotten. But at least we can skip the landfill and rock some recycling with this Top 20 of other CD ideas. The clock and coasters might seem obvious, but there are a few surprises here…