Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Happy Birthday Compact Disc

It was 28 years ago today that the compact disc was introduced to the world, and it revolutionized the music industry.

And it put vinyl records (remember them?) out of business.

Billy Joel's "52nd Street" album was the very first pop album released on CD, and shortly after that 16 titles from CBS Records were released to the public. The explosion was on, and by 1988, a staggering 400 million CDs were printed that year.

I have a very soft spot in my heart for CDs. I worked at Tower Records in Greenwich Village and got to see CDs take off first hand. In late 1985 I became the store's pop/rock/soul CD buyer, and it was amazing to see it happen. I remember when the Beatles CDs came out for the first time in early 1987, and the publicity surrounding the release was pretty intense. I was interviewed by many media outlets that day, on TV and radio and in print. (My media empire began that day.)

The advent of the mp3 and iPods in the early 2000s changed the way people buy music and CD have dropped considerably over the last decade. I finally joined the revolution and got an iPod in 2008. But I still have my CD collection, and it totals about 1,000. These days I go to a number of used CD stores in New York to get cheap CDs I've never owned to fill in the iPod. (My goal is to hit 10,000 songs by the end of 2011. Right now I have just over 8,800.) It's cheaper than having to fork over 99 cents (or $1.29) to iTunes for every song.

And besides, I like having the CD. Brings back fond memories of my Tower days.

Happy Birthday, CDs. You'll always have a place in my home.

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