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Mónica Guzmán

Stories at the intersection of tech and life from a boldly connected city.

October 1, 2012 at 3:31 PM

The CD turns 30, way less cool than it used to be

Chic, shiny, gone? (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The coolest thing in my friend Sarah’s house, back when I was in 6th grade and she hosted all the best sleepovers — was her dad’s wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling CD collection.

It was the jewel of the cavernous living room where we would lay out the sleeping bags, pop in a disc or two and one memorable night choreographed a multi-part dance to “On Bended Knee” from Boyz II Men’s 1994 album II, which we all had, of course.

Compact discs dominated music when music mattered most to my fragile social life, so it was nostalgic and frankly weird to learn that CDs turned 30 today.

And though CDs are still kicking — the 91 million sold in the first half of 2012 accounted for 61 percent of all U.S. album sales — ask the kids: Downloads and music streams are all the rage, and CDs are history.

A few fun facts to muse on:

— The first compact disc, released Oct. 1, 1982, was Billy Joel’s 52nd Street.

— The first compact disc player, Sony’s CDP-101, sold in Japan for the equivalent of $730.

— The first car to have a CD player factory installed was a Mercedes, back in 1985.

— Vinyl sales, amazingly, went up 14 percent for the first half of 2012, compared with 2011.

— The iPod is already 11 years old.

The first time I bought a CD, I bought three — Melissa Etheridge’s Yes I Am, Madonna’s Something to Remember and Ace of Base’s The Sign, on sale  for less than $5 on Amazon.

I played the hell out of those albums, but have no idea where the scratched up little discs are today. I’m listening to a Pandora streamed music station as I write this. Maybe in a box in the garage?

I wonder if Sarah’s dad’s collection suffered the same fate.

What was the first CD you ever bought? Know where it is today? Join the discussion on Facebook.

Seen a story that caught your eye re: digital life? Email me at mguzman@seattletimes.com or reach me on Twitter or Facebook to share your take.

 

Comments | More in Music, Nostalgia

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