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Dec 08

The CD is turning 30!

Next year the Compact Disc, known more commonly as a CD will become 30 years old!

Philips unveiled the first CD in 1979
In March of 1979, Philips unveiled their Compact Disc.  Shortly after the announcement, Philips agreed a deal to work in unison with Sony on the development of a CD.  Original plans saw the CD being 11.5cm in diameter, however Sony insisted that the CD must hold all of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony!  With the longest recording of the symphony being 74 minutes, the CD’s diameter grew to 12cm to accommodate the extra data.

In 1980 Philips and Sony produced their Red Book, which lays down all the standards for compact discs.  This time also saw Philips and Sony going their separate ways with the production of CD equipment, however they did agreed in the early days to share components.

The First CD Player from Philips cost over £1000

The first CDs went on sale in 1982 and were mainly classical recordings, as it was thought at the time that the classical music lovers were
more affluent than the typical pop or rock fans and more inclined to pay approximately £1,000 for a CD Player.  The first commercial CDs pressed were The Visitors by Abba and a recording of Herbert von Karajan conducting the Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauss.

Initially, the US record labels were sceptical about the introduction of CDs, however just a year later there were over 1,000 different titles available on CD and in 1985, Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms made history by being the first CD album to sell 1 million copies!

Since then over 200 billion CDs have been sold worldwide. It was thought the CD would have died out years ago and with download now the common form of purchase when it comes to music, CD has definitely declined. It’s still here though and hundreds of thousands are still produced each day so it might well be here a little while longer.

Handisc Team