The Compact Disc Turns 30

Yesterday, as many people noted, was the 30th anniversary of the compact disc’s introduction as a music medium. It’s hard to believe that an entire format has been phased in and already gone through much of its life cycle within my lifetime but there it is. 

Phil Collins But Seriously

It wasn’t until 1988 that I bought my first CD. Up until that point I’d been fine with tapes and even records, the latter of which was on its way out as I was growing up though it was still prominent enough that I bought quite a few LPs and even 45″ singles in the record stores I frequented as a youth (particularly Flipside Records in Hillside, IL…dropped quite a few allowance dollars in that place…). 

Batman mem soundtrack

After receiving my first CD player the Christmas of 1988 (an all-in-one bookshelf type thing with a CD player, tape deck, radio tuner and, yes, a record player) I almost immediately bought my first two albums on disk: Phil Collins’ But Seriously… and the Danny Elfman Batman score. I still have both, though it’s been ages since I put the disks themselves in anything other than my laptop to rip them into iTunes. 

No huge point here. Not going to start pontificating on the transience of media delivery forms or anything like that. Just a fond memory I have of feeling the excitement of being able to skip to any song I wanted to listen to with the push of a button and without the vagaries of rewinding of trying to find just the right groove. 

(One minor additional point: Remember on the back of CDs there used to be a three-letter code with a bunch of As and Ds to show how the album was recorded, mixed and mastered? I used to be mildly obsessed with checking these before buying any album.)

By Chris Thilk

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist with over 15 years of experience in online strategy and content marketing. He lives in the Chicago suburbs.