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Happy 30th birthday, compact disc -- and RIP? A look back

October 02, 2012|By Randy Lewis
  • The Compact Disc format was introduced in 1982.
The Compact Disc format was introduced in 1982. (File photo )

To paraphrase the Fab Four, it was 30 years ago yesterday that Sony introduced the first CD player.

It wasn’t until 1983, however, that the compact disc entered the public consciousness in a big way, with the unveiling of the new format at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that year. That was when the major record companies started coming aboard and producing something to play on those shiny new CD players that various hardware manufacturers were producing.

Pop & Hiss thought it would be illuminating to share that first report on the advent of the new digital playback technology.

The headline: “Audio Biz Buzzing Over CD.” In the what-goes-around-comes-around department, the opening line of the piece: “Put those 12-inch long-playing albums back on the shelf and get ready for the Compact Disc.”

Some of the article's predictions should generate at least smiles — if not grimaces — among music executives and consumers alike, including “Barring severe mishandling, its proponents say, it will never wear out.” And then there’s this forecast: “. . . Major record companies see it as the possible savior of their depressed industry.”

The bad news? The compact disc is on its way out, thanks to iPods, iPhones, streaming and cloud music storage services. The good news? Vinyl is in the midst of a major resurgence.

The more things change....

Click here to see the full text of the story, published April 8, 1983.

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