No, I’m not talking about me. I’m referring to our shiny round friend that revolutionized our consumer technology lives: the compact disc. Thirty years ago, in October of 1982, Sony released the first consumer CD players in Japan. Later developments in this same technology led to other digital formats, including the CD-ROM, which ultimately displaced magnetic media such as floppy and ZIP discs (remember those?) for inexpensive data storage.
I’ve had a fairly close relationship with the format covering most of the three decades that CDs have been around. First as a consumer; I have vivid memories of making the decision to plunk down a wad of hard earned cash on my first CD player while I was in college. Later, my love of music influenced my career path considerably as I held positions on Nashville’s Music Row, supporting the design and manufacture of packaging for compact discs.
Although the CD is in its twilight years as a data storage solution, I suspect it will still be around for some time as a way to listen to music. Interestingly, another audio format which has been on the verge of extinction for years, vinyl LPs, has recently had a huge resurgence in popularity. Who knows, maybe one day the hipsters of the future will bring back the CD for round two. Until then, thanks for 30 years of service, my old silver pal!