Happy Birthday, Compact Discs

noah | October 1, 2009 12:45 pm

Twenty-seven years ago today, Sony introduced the CDP-101 to market: The $2,200 piece of electronics (pictured at left) was the first compact-disc player, and the company went on to sell 20,000 units over the three months following its debut. In addition to the hardware, Sony issued 50 of its titles on CD at a price that would equal between $33 and $45 in 2009 dollars; the “first” entry in the compact-disc catalog was Billy Joel’s 52nd Street, and a bunch of other albums from Sony’s corporate rock, Japanese pop, and classical units fell in line behind it. Is there a dusty copy of one of the 50 titles after the jump in your library?

Pop Music by CBS/Sony 35DP-1 Billy Joel, 52nd Street 35DP-2 Billy Joel, The Stranger 35DP-3 Boz Scaggs, Middle Man 35DP-4 Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here 35DP-5 Toto, Turn Back 35DP-6 Journey, Escape 35DP-7 Barbra Streisand, Guilty 35DP-8 Weather Report, Night Passage 35DP-9 Al DiMeola / Paco De Lucia / John McLaughlin, Super Guitar Trio Live (One Night In San Francisco 35DP-10 Bob James & Earl Klugh, One On One 35DP-11 Boz Scaggs, Hits! 35DP-12 Toto, Toto IV 35DP-13 Simon & Garfunkel, The Simon & Garfunkel Collection 35DP-14 Simon & Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water 35DP-15 Earth, Wind, & Fire, Raise! 35DP-16 Miles Davis, The Man With The Horn 35DP-17 Herbie Hancock Trio with Ron Carter & Tony Williams Japanese Pop Releases by CBS/Sony 35DH-1 Eiichi Otaki, A Long Vacation 35DH-2 Motoharu Sano, Masamichi Sugi, Eiichi Otaki, Niagara Triangle Vol. 2 35DH-3 Seiko Matsuda, Pineapple 35DH-4 Mayumi Itsuka, Koibitoyo 35DH-5 Momoe Yamaguchi, Again Momoe Anato No Komori No Uta 35DH-6 The Candies, The Best 35DH-7 Sadao Watanabe, Orange Express 35DH-8 Kimiko Kasai, Kimiko 35DH-9 Various Artists, New Music Best Hit 38DG-1 The SL, SL Sound In Digital Pop Music by Epic/Sony 358P-1 Julio Iglesias, De Nina A Mujer 358P-2 Michael Jackson, Off The Wall 358P-3 The Nolans, Don’t Love Me Too Hard 358P-4 REO Speedwagon, Hi Infidelity 358P-5 Jeff Beck, There And Back Japanese Domestic Releases by Epic/Sony 358H-1 Channels, Soul Shadows 358H-2 Motoharu Sano, Someday 358H-3 Ippu-Do, Lunatic Menu Classical by CBS/Sony 38DC-1 Beethoven: Symphony No. 5; Schubert: Symphony No. 8, Maazel / Vienna Philharmonic 38DC-2 Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, Mehta / New York Philharmonic 38DC-3 Mozart: Haffner, Kubelik / Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra 38DC-4 Mozart: Symphony No. 38, Kubelik / Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra 38DC-5 Mozart: Symphony No. 41, Kubelik / Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra 38DC-6 Bruckner: Symphony No. 4, Kubelik / Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra 38DC-7 Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5, Maazel / Cleveland Symphony Orchestra 38DC-8 Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5, Bernstein / New York Philharmonic 38DC-9 Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overturre, Maazel / Vienna Philharmonic 38DC-10 Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra, Mehta / New York Philharmonic 38DC-11 Stravinsky: Ballet Music, Mehta / New York Philharmonic 38DC-12 Holst: The Planets, Maazel / French National Orchestra 38DC-13 Dvorak: Concerto For Cello, Tsoyoshi Tsutsumi (cello) with Kosler / Czech Philharmonic 38DC-14 Grieg: Piano Concerto, Hiroko Nakamura (piano) with Yuichiro Ohmachi / Tokyo Philharmonic 38DC-15 New Famous Pieces By Chopin, Hiroko Nakamura (piano)

As the years would go on, the CD player would have something of an accelerated existence, thanks in part to the age from which it was borne; it ballooned to 100-capacity units and shrank to Discman size, and now it’s teetering on the precipice of outdatedness thanks to digital-music players, as well as its functions being usurped by other electronics in the house from alarm clocks to computers to those music channels that are in the upper echelons of cable boxes. Do you foresee CD players going the way of the cassette deck—a sort of stereophonic vestigial tail, if you will—anytime soon? Or is 27 years the right amount of time for bigger, blockier versions of the component becoming, dare I say, “retro”?Collectable CDs: The world’s first 50 CD titles. [eBay Guides]Oct. 1, 1982: Portable Music Enters the Spin Zone [Wired via New Music Tip Sheet]