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  1. #1
    Pip Madeley Guest

    Default 25 Years of Compact Discs

    On October 1, 1982 Sony sold the very first CD player in Japan, along with Billy Joel’s 52nd Street – commercially launching a technology that would revolutionise the way in which the world listened to music.

    The first disc had rolled off the production line at Dutch company Philips in August, but technology is generally given a birth-date relating to its first sale – so the true 25th anniversary is still a matter for discussion.

    What is beyond doubt is that the CD swept across the globe, quickly competing with and then surpassing vinyl records as a new generation embraced the technology and started the now familiar process of updating their collections to a new format.

    But for the collaboration between Philips and Sony, the compact disc might well have only allowed an hour of music, with the Japanese company famously forcing their Dutch counterparts to change their production facility in order to make a wider 80 minute disc.

    Ostensibly, the reason for this was the decision that the whole of Beethoven’s 9th symphony should be able to fit on the disc, but several reports since have suggested that the true reason was to allow Sony to catch up with Philips’ quick adaptation of their factories to produce the format by forcing the change through.

    The success had seemed a great distance from assured when Philips and Sony’s engineers were flying across the globe to collaborate on the joint-technology. Dutch engineer Kees Immink said in 1997: “Personally, I was not at all sure that CD would succeed, as I had seen the problems that arose with [another Philips product] Laservision. “Naturally there were numerous occasions on which each team felt it had the best or most practical solution.”

    Not that the arguments damaged either company – Sony, who had famously lost out in the format wars for videos with their Betamax tapes, had no problem marketing the CD to their audience, with the glittering discs becoming an instant hit. It took less than four years for CD players to overtake record layers and by 1988 CDs were officially the best selling musical format, with vinyl in a terminal slump.

    The CD’s success was not limited to music either. The computer and video game industry had grown in parallel with the CD, and with cartridges and tapes beginning to fall short of the data demands, the CD became a vital format for the likes of the PC and Sony’s PlayStation. However, the CD’s 25th anniversary coincides with what could prove to be the beginning of its own demise, with digital downloads beginning to heavily impact on sales.

    In the past decade CD sales have begun to slow drastically and digital downloads will account for a quarter of all worldwide music sales by 2010 according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

    BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor said in July: "The UK recording industry has moved very quickly to expand beyond its traditional base of physical sales to generate additional revenues from multi-platform music licensing. "CDs remain very attractive to consumers because of the flexibility and outstanding value for money they offer and for this reason they still represent the overwhelming majority of sales. Consumers vote with their pay packets and 58 million CD album sales in just six months is a very significant number indeed. Album units have dipped year on year, but we are still selling 32% more CDs than 10 years ago."
    Ten facts about CDs:
    • The first album to sell a million copies was Dire Strait’s ‘Money for Nothing’ in 1985
    • In 2000 global sales of CD albums peaked at 2.455 billion. In 2006 that figure was down to 1.755 billion.
    • Philips insists that no one person can be credited as the inventor of the CD: “Nobody even invented one part of the technology alone. The CD was invented collectively by a large group of people working as a team.”
    • Because the pits that make up the data are behind a plastic disc the presence of dust and small scratches does not affect playback because the laser that reads them focuses through them – in the same way as small scratches on a camera lens do not show up.
    • Sony vice-president Norio Ohga, is credited as the man responsible for the discs being more than an hour in length.
    • The final agreement over the technical specifications between Philips and Sony were recorded in the red book – so called after the favourite colour of the Philips project leader Joop Sinjou.
    • The first CD that was pressed in Hanover was a recording of Herbert von Karajan conducting the Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauss.
    • More than 200 billion CDs have been sold worldwide.
    • Many of the first CD recordings were of classical music because this audience were believed to be more affluent and likely to adopt the technology.
    • Sony’s portable CD player the Discman arrived in 1984, but it was the development of anti-skip technology that finally made the players more common in the 1990s


    What was your first CD? Mine was (rather sadly) the Man United team's rendition of 'Come On You Reds'.

  2. #2
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    Rocking All Over The Years by Status Quo.

  3. #3
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    Mine was Holding Back The River by Wet, Wet, Wet. They were my favourite band in 1989 you know.

    Si xx

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  4. #4
    Pip Madeley Guest

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    Do many people here still buy CDs?

    I'm very much a digital person these days, MP3s all the way...

  5. #5
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    I have loads. I need to see and feel them! No downloads for me in the house (although I do have an MP3 player).I still buy and play vinyl too, and have a new record player (a Project Ii)

  6. #6
    Captain Tancredi Guest

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    My first CD player was a Christmas present in 1990- one of my first discs was Handel's Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks, which I still had until recently. I still have one or two CDs from those days.

    Although I keep meaning to get into the habit of buying CDs more often (my album project having basically collapsed several months ago) the last thing I bought was Naxos's 20th birthday collection, which grouped together six of their most critically-acclaimed releases at half price.

    Three or four years ago I passed the Oxfam shop in Ilkley, who had an old wind-up gramophone for about £100 with your choice of 6 78's to play on it. If I'd been working at the time I would have had it like a shot.

  7. #7
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    I still buy CDs. I haven't really entered the download age.

    Si xx

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  8. #8
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    I remember just after I started my A-Levels 20 years ago, a friend bought a CD from town (I'm 90% sure it was Brothers in Arms) and - how 'from the dark ages' does this sound? - it was the first CD I'd ever seen. It looked so 'space-age' and exciting.

    We don't buy many CDs, although I suspect that might change as Little Miss hits her teens (unless she goes straight to downloading). The last CD I got was ABBA Gold (for m'birthday earlier in the year) and the first CD I bought was...

    ...The Worlds of Doctor Who (music compliation). What a surprise!

  9. #9
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    Ten facts about CDs:
    You missed out the one about being able to spread jam on them.

    My first cds were New Order's "Brotherhood" along with The Waterboys "This Is The Sea".
    “If my sons did not want wars, there would be none.” - Gutle Schnaper Rothschild

  10. #10
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    I still buy CD's - you can't play a download in the car can you?

    My first CD was, rather dissapointingly, a cheap CD single of "Zombie" by Adam & Amy. My first album was "Rhythm of the Night" by Corona.

    If only CD's had been 60 minutes long! A whole lot of overlong albums would be more listenable.

    Si.

  11. #11
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    If only CD's had been 60 minutes long! A whole lot of overlong albums would be more listenable.
    Hear Hear!

    I bought cassette tapes for years and I can't remember the first CD I bought for myself! On the other hand, I know my dad bought a Classical CD and Michael Jackson's 'Bad' pretty early on.

    My first CD could be 1.Outside by David Bowie. I might check tonight.

    Downloads are fine if you don't care too much about what you're downloading, but they're so intangible and disposable. I prefer to own a CD outright - and a CD will generally be better sound quality than an MP3. Possibly always.
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  12. #12
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    The first one my Dad bought was Bad in 1987. He bought a new seperates system especially to own it!

    Si xx

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

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    My first CD was the single of She Is Suffering by Manic Street Preachers. I bought it before having a cd player. My first album was Separations by Pulp! Pip will be pleased.

  14. #14

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    Got my first CD player in 1992 and the first CD I bought was a cheap love songs compilation because it had "Eternal Flame" by The Bangles on it!

  15. #15
    Pip Madeley Guest

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    My first album was Separations by Pulp! Pip will be pleased.
    He is. I'll have to write Rob singing a little bit of "Death II" into my PS audio.

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    That might get lost at the script editing stage.

    Si.

  17. #17
    Pip Madeley Guest

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    If you can shoehorn Dylan in, I'll get Jarvis in somehow.

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    It's not Dylan's version of "Mr Tambourine Man" used in the story, it's the cover by The Byrds.

    Si.

  19. #19
    Wayne Guest

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    I was a late starter with CD's. It was about 1993!
    My first CD was actually 3 that i bought in one go, all by Bireli Lagrene. (Who?) It's pointless me naming the titles, isn't it?
    I still buy CD's, but not so many these days.......

  20. #20
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    I was late getting in to music and I think my first CD was "30 Years at the Radiophonic Workshop" (that old party starter) which I think I got a few years before I actually had a CD player and listened to it (not very often) on my brother's. The first CD I went out an bought for me, myself and I must have been "Spice Up Your Life" by The Girls...although I'd already got their "Step To Me" that came free with Pepsi a few months before. Happy days from the Times of Spice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    I was a late starter with CD's. It was about 1993!
    My first CD was actually 3 that i bought in one go, all by Bireli Lagrene. (Who?) It's pointless me naming the titles, isn't it?
    Stop dumbing down!

  22. #22
    Captain Tancredi Guest

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    Rather like my accumulation of Thomas Tallis, Orlando Gibbons and Marc-Antoine Charpentier, then...

  23. #23
    Wayne Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Baynes View Post
    Stop dumbing down!
    yourself, Bossy Boots!

    Was it something i said?

    Just for you then, Carol:
    The titles were 'Routes To Django', 'Bireli Swing '81', & 'Standards'.
    Is that anymore enlightening ?
    Last edited by Wayne; 4th Oct 2007 at 4:28 PM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    I was a late starter with CD's. It was about 1993!
    1993 was also the first time I'd bought a CD, predictably enough it was a 70s comp for about £1.99 in Poundstretchers. I was very impressed with the sound quality, especially as it contained the album version of Argent's 1972 hit Hold Your Head Up. Haven't looked back since. Although I still play my vinyl albums, and am always on the lookout for singles in car boot sales, one recent find was an original single of a minor 1975 non hit from the Surprise Sisters, a cover of Andy Fairweatherlowe's La Booga Rooga.

  25. #25
    Wayne Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Morgan View Post
    1993 was also the first time I'd bought a CD, I was very impressed with the sound quality, Haven't looked back since.

    Although I still play my vinyl albums, and am always on the lookout for singles in car boot sales, one recent find was an original single of a minor 1975 non hit from the Surprise Sisters, a cover of Andy Fairweatherlowe's La Booga Rooga.
    The first thing i noticed was how much better CD's are on quieter moments. Particularly on Classical music. One of the earliest CD's i bought was Holst's: 'The Planet Suite', as it was an old favourite, & the quality was fantastic compared the rumbling LP i had. I'd never really noticed how much background noise you can hear on the quieter movements.
    I got sold all my vinyl within months, & spent the money on CDs!

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