After Hours

For the compact disc, it is all down hill after 25


Colleague John Sheesley forwarded me an article he saw on MSNBC regarding the 25th anniversary of the music compact disc CD-ROM. Twenty-five years ago, the compact disc began its steady climb toward its eventual spot as the music media king of the hill. Of course now, with the proliferation of easily portable digital music files, the popularity of the compact disc is in decline.

The relatively short life span of the CD-ROM is likely going to doom it to obscurity. I doubt the nostalgia many feel for the vinyl record (including yours truly) is going to be applied with near the same vigor toward the compact disc. The compact disc is an excellent music delivery mechanism, but there is no cultural mystique, no cultural sea change to mark its time at the top of the heap.

I think the advent of the digital music file and the corresponding universe of small music-playing devices, however, does represent a major cultural shift. One that will carry more nostalgic weight when their time at the top is over and they are replaced by implants or something. (The iHead Cranial implant anyone.)

Can you remember the first music compact disc you purchased? Was it a replacement for a favorite vinyl album or something new?

I purchased two CD-ROM compact discs the day I bought my first player: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Live Alive and George Thorogood, Bad to the Bone. Stevie Ray was new and George was my first CD purchased as replacement for vinyl. It was circa 1986 and I was big on guitars, rock and roll, and everything not Madonna and A Flock of Seagulls. In fact, I still am all those things. (By the way, on MP3.com you can stream Bad to the Bone for free.)

What about you? Do you have any nostalgic memories for the now declining 25-year-old compact disc?

About

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

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