Monday, October 3, 2011

Compact Discs

Listening to Billy Joel's "52nd Street" album on CD earlier made me think about the early days of compact discs. Why Billy Joel? Well this was the first album to be released on CD in Japan on October 1st 1982, though interestingly the first commercial album to be manufactured on CD was ABBA's "the visitors". Of course CDs are still ubiquitous nowadays even in the age of the mp3 and other digital only formats. I buy dozens of CDs a year (at last count 52) still and have hundreds in my house (maybe over a thousand by now, never actually counted them all, maybe i should). Added to that are dozens of CD-Rs and data CDs, though these are becoming more scarce now as people store in the cloud or use USB keys.

My Dad bought a CD player in about 1988 (Matsushita i think), and i got my own a couple of years later when i got a stereo for my 18th birthday, yay!) The first CD i ever bought was Waylon Jennings' "Hangin' tough" which i still have got and it still plays perfectly after 23 years. I still bought vinyl mostly though for years afterwards, vinyl was a lot cheaper for a start. I also bought mostly 7" singles in the early 1990s as i discovered indie pop. In about 1998 i had to throw all my vinyl away though which was a shame, but i was engaged and my future wife needed somewhere to store her stuff in my bedroom (as it wasn't until a few months after we got married until we got our own place). Now i shudder at the loss of all those Sarah singles and other C86 rarities, especially as i probably didn't need to throw them away (and we got divorced eventually anyway!)

As more and more people consume music digitally the CD is becoming a rarer beast, like vinyl it will survive but will become more of a niche. Although i do get music digitally (iTunes, Amazon and free stuff) and play most of my stuff on my Mac in iTunes i do prefer having a physical artefact to look at and fondle (oo-er). I'm not happy with my music collection being one hard disk crash away from oblivion but we'll see just how convenient and secure these cloud services like iCloud turn out to be.

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