When Sony and Phillips ushered in the birth of the compact disc thirty years ago, the world was a very different place. The country where the first CD was pressed was called West Germany, and the world somehow entertained itself without Super Mario Brothers or Reddit.
Perhaps most terrifyingly, consumers still had to pay for music. Indeed, it was on October 1st, 1982 that Japan played host to the first commercially available CD-ROM — Billy Joel's 52nd Street was launched alongside the faux wood-paneled Sony CDP-101. The format began its march to worldwide domination the following year.
That dominance would last until last year, when sales of compact discs finally gave up the music industry's top revenue spot to digital sales. Considering that the CD ceded the gee-whiz spotlight to the Apple iPod in 2001, the resilience of the discs is laudable. Indeed, the CD will continue to play a significant role in music sales for the foreseeable future, but with streaming services on the upswing, it's arguable that the venerable format is two generations behind the curve.
For the day at least, the CD can again enjoy the spotlight. So go ahead and break out that dusty old portable CD player and spin up a few hot tracks of (hopefully skip-free) nostalgia.