The CD Turns 30

On October 1, 1982, Sony released the first CD player for the modest price of $900. The album that got the distinction of being the first commercial release was Billy Joel’s 52nd Street. Brothers in Arms from the Dire Straits, would be the first single to be released. However, the first CD to be manufactured in a factory specifically built for pressing CDs, was The Visitors by Abba. After a year or so of compact discs being out Japan, CBS Records opened a plant in Terre Haute, Indiana to start producing CDs. The first album to be pressed in America, was Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA. How’s that for patriotism?

Some of the advantages that the CD had over vinyl records and cassette tapes include: their longevity, their compact size, and the ability to store more music without affecting the sound quality. Another revolutionary feature the compact disc had, was that it stored music digitally. That way no matter how many times you would play the album, you would always hear the exact same sound.

By the early 90s, CD’s became the dominant force in how people listened to their music. Even though vinyl was no longer a mainstream format, I personally was still a collector. Let’s also not forget about exchanging mix cassette tapes. That’s really how I discovered new bands that were interesting to me. Still, Cd’s were how the majority of my generation got their music. I even remember the first album I got on CD, it was Ghosttown by The Radiators.

In the late 90s, burning your own Cd’s became the next big thing. Mix tapes became a thing of the past, and independent bands and musicians now had a faster, cheaper, and better way to put out their music. Today, Cd’s are slowly becoming yet another obsolete format that you’ll end up putting away in a storage box. They no longer seem necessary when we have MP3 players, cloud storage sites, and flash drives. Now that vinyl records are starting to make a comeback, it’s likely you won’t be showing off your massive CD collection to anyone anytime soon.

Over the past couple of decades, I’ve gotten a fairly large collection. Some of which have yet to even be opened. Seriously, you try and break into a jewel case from the late 80s and see how easy it is. These days I mostly get my music digitally. I still occasionally like to purchase Cd’s, and love getting them in the mail to review. It’s just that if I want a physical copy, I would rather have it on vinyl. Reason being, the coolness factor for one, and second, it’s just a personal preference.

With that said, happy 30th birthday to the little pieces of polycarbonate plastic that are now mostly used as frisbees. So what was the first Cd you owned? Take a trip down memory lane and lets us know in the comments below.

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