The Compact Disc Is Now 40 Years Old!

Here’s something that might blow your mind: The compact disc turns 40 YEARS OLD today (8/17/22)! To celebrate, here are a few random facts about CDs:

1.  The very first CD was produced at a German factory in August of 1982.

2.  The “first” CD to be released commercially came out in Japan in October of that year, 1982.  It was “52nd Street” by Billy Joel, which wasn’t a new release.  It was originally put out on vinyl in 1978.

3.  It seems random to suddenly be selling “52nd Street” on a shiny disc . . . no matter how much you like “Zanzibar” . . . but that wasn’t actually the case.  There were 50 albums released on CD at once . . . “52nd Street” just gets the special distinction because it had the first catalog number.

4.  The first commercially produced CD player was the Sony CDP-101.  In 1982, it cost about $1,000, although some deluxe players went for more than $1,500.  By the mid ’80s, the average player sold for $300 to $600.

5.  The first CDs cost more than $20 apiece.  By the mid ’80s, they settled into a range of $11 to $15.  Although, that was around $30 in today’s money.

6.  By 1985 . . . three years after the CD’s debut . . . there were about 2,600 CD titles available, which is a lot.  But by comparison, around 50,000 titles were being printed on vinyl at that time. Of those CDs, approximately one-third were classical . . . one-third were pop / rock . . . and one-third were other genres, like jazz and Broadway.  And a year before that, in 1984, ONE-HALF of the available CDs were classical.

7.  CD sales peaked in 2000 . . . and not long after the slide began.  BUT, CD sales were actually UP last year for the first time in almost 20 years.


(Wikipedia / Reliable Plant / CNN / NY Times / Statista)


BONUS: Top Signs It’s Time to Throw Out a CD

  • It features the words “Kenny” and “G.”
  • It brings back painful memories . . . of when you had hair.
  • The last time you listened to it, we were on the brink of nuclear war with Russia, “Top Gun” was the number one movie of the year, and a doddering old man was president. Okay, bad example.
  • It’s your dog’s favorite frisbee.
  • When you tried donating it to Goodwill, they said, “We don’t want that crap.”
  • When you open the case, stale air hisses out like a mummy’s tomb.
  • It features Tommy Lee. . . minus a picture of his junk.
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