The BBC reports that it was 25 years ago, to this day, that the world’s first compact disc was produced at a Philips factory in Germany. The rest, as they say, is history.
A joint project between Philips and Sony, designed to create a standard for an optical disc for storing and playing back music, the CD has since gone on to sell over 200 billion, and despite the rise of digital downloads, continues to dominate music sales.
Some interesting tidbits from the BBC’s coverage:
- It was very unusual for two rival companies — Philips and Sony — to work openly together to create an industry standard [Some things haven’t changed]
- Philips’ plan for a CD with a 11.5cm diameter had to be changed when Sony insisted that a disc must hold all of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (74 minutes)
- The first CD produced was The Visitors by Abba
- In 1985 Dire Straits’ Brothers In Arms became the first CD to sell more than one million copies. It is still the world’s most successful CD album.
- In 2000 global sales of CD albums peaked at 2.455 billion. In 2006 that figure was down to 1.755 billion.
Apparently, it was always intended that the CD format would last 20-25 years, but as things stand, the Compact Disc looks to have a long way to go yet. For me personally, the advent of the domestic CD burner was an even bigger deal. I can still remember burning hundreds of copies of my bands second E.P. (using a x2 speed CD burner) in a romantic attempt at securing a record deal.
Happy 25th birthday CD.