The compact disk is officially 30 years old this week. And, thanks to the rampaging popularity of its successor, the DVD, the CD is celebrating quietly, at home, with close friends and family…

But, as popular gadget blog Gizmondo quips, “Compact discs weren’t always impromptu drink coasters. Once, in the not-so-distant past, they played music, contained pictures, and let people play video games…”

Some trivia:

  • The CD was (literally) spun off from the laserdisc by researchers and engineers at Philips in the Netherlands.
  • It didn’t get much notice, much less catch on, though, until Philips and Sony partnered to promote the new ‘standard’.
  • The first music album released on CD was Billy Joel’s 52nd Street (which the vast majority of fans nevertheless bought on vinyl, at that very early date).

Whatever else you might say about CDs, you have to admit that they made digital media applications not only possible but commonplace for consumers. And the studio-rivalling quality of CDs started a decades-long debate about copy protection, which has since spread to the Internet and is now being is now referred to, more broadly, as ‘digital rights management’.

And, glued back to back, with a hole drilled through near the outer edge for a thread or ribbon, they make wonderful, glimmery Christmas tree ornaments!

One Response to CD celebrates big 3-0

  1. Evolving Squid
    Mar 11, 2009

    We used to use AOL CDs to hang in the window to prevent bird strikes.

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