Compact Disc: History of the CD
What is a CD?
A CD is a short term for compact disc and was originally invented to store digital sound recordings exclusively. Later, it was also used to store other types of digital data like images, documents, and the like. Until today, it remains the industry’s standard for storing and preserving audio.
The CD was planned to be the successor of the gramophone record for playing music, rather than primarily as a data storage medium. Only later did the concept of an “audio file” arise, and its generalization to a data file. From its origins as a musical format, CDs have grown to encompass other applications.
The standard CD has a diameter of 120 mm and can hold up to 80 minutes of uncompressed audio (700 MB of data)
September 1976–Sony first publicly demonstrated an optical digital audio disc
September 1978- Sony demonstrated an optical digital audio disc with a 150 minute playing time, and with specifications of 44,056 Hz sampling rate, 16-bit linear resolution, cross-interleaved error correction code, that were similar to those of the Compact Disc introduced in 1982.
March 13-16, 1979- Technical details of Sony’s digital audio disc were presented during the 62nd AES Convention in Brussels
1979- Later that year, Sony and Philips Consumer Electronics (Philips) set up a joint task force of engineers to design a new digital audio disc. After a year of experimentation and discussion, the taskforce produced the Red Book, the Compact Disc standard.
Philips and Sony corporations joined forces to coproduce the CD-DA (Compact Disc-Digital Audio) standard. Philips had already developed commercial laserdisc players, and Sony had a decade of digital recording research under its belt. The two companies were poised for a battlethe introduction of potentially incompatible audio laser disc formatswhen instead they came to terms on an agreement to formulate a single industry-standard digital audio technology.
1981- The first test CD was pressed in Hannover, Germany by the Polydor Pressing Operations plant. The disc contained a recording of Richard Strauss‘s Eine Alpensinfonie, played by the Berlin Philharmonic and conducted by Herbert von Karajan
August 1982- the real pressing was ready to begin in the new factory, not far from the place where Emil Berliner had produced his first gramophone record 93 years earlier.
March 2, 1983- CD players and discs (16 titles from CBS Records) were released in the United States and other markets.
1988-400 million CDs were manufactured by 50 pressing plants around the world
The first artist to sell a million copies on CD was Dire Straits, with its 1985 album Brothers in Arms
The first major artist to have his entire catalogue converted to CD was David Bowie, whose 15 studio albums were made available by RCA in February 1985, along with four Greatest Hits albums.
To date, the biggest selling CD (as opposed to the biggest selling title) is Beatles “1”, released in November 2000, with worldwide sales of 30 million discs
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