The CD is a digital optical disc that was made for data storage. Eventually, the CD player was made portable in handheld sizes and boomboxes as well so they could be carried around with you. They were put into computers, home stereos and installed into automobiles.
The CD player was first released for the public to purchase in 1982. This was during a time when vinyl record players and cassette tape players were the most popular way to listen to music besides on the radio and many years before anyone was able to buy and download music from the internet.
After the technology was developed it was shown in Japan and Europe. The companies of Sony and Philips worked together to make the CD usable for the public. Most people were more than ready to try out the little silver disc that looked like a small record and had no tape to break or get tangled up. In fact, by the time the CD was 25 years old, over 200 billion had been sold.
When Did CD’s Become Popular?
The CD player became a hot commodity right out of the gate but had really gained momentum in sales by 1983 and 1984 selling 1000’s of players and several 100,000’s of disc. Each CD could hold about 80 minutes of music. One of the biggest draws of the CD was that you could skip directly to the beginning of another song, unlike a cassette tape that had to be fast-forwarded and started and stopped until you reached where you wanted it to be. A record album had to have the needle of the player moved manually to get to the beginning of the next song unless you just let the record play until it reached it.
When Did CD Players Become Affordable?
Even though people were fascinated by the new technology of the CD and CD player when they first came out, what they were not fascinated by was how much they cost! Sony’s first CD audio player was an astonishing $900 dollars and not just anyone could afford to have one. Over the following years as more and more CD players and CDs were sold, the cost of buying them steadily dropped.
As with most electronic items, other companies stepped into making and selling CD players and making music CDs. This created more competition in the market, so naturally, the prices came down to a much more affordable level. By the 1990s the cost of purchasing a music CD was pretty affordable at $12 to $14 dollars in most stores.
When Did Portable CD Players Come Out?
Sony made available the very first portable CD player in 1984 and it was called the Discman D-50. It was eventually renamed CD Walkman. As Sony built a market for the portable CD player, sales grew and it did gain in popularity.
The main drawback of the new portable CD players was when they were moved around very much the disc would skip. It didn’t make a very pleasant way to listen to music. It was similar to trying to listen to a scratched up vinyl record. It could be more annoying to listen to than it was pleasant.
Even though people continued to buy them, their real surge in sales and popularity came in 1997 when Sony came out with the anti-skip technology. It made it much easier to carry the player around and enjoy the music without much worry about skipping.
When Did CD Player Sales Decline?
In 2003 the internet had a new business from the Apple company called iTunes and with their release of the iPod, it quickly became what everyone wanted instead of CDs and CD players. The digital recorders changed the way people bought and listened to their music for quite some time. With the development of the smartphone, especially the Apple iPhone in 2007, it was now possible to get the music right on your phone through the internet. This eliminated the need for an iPod, so they went by the wayside too eventually.
With all of the newest electronic gadgets that could do so many wondrous things, the CD market went into a slow and steady decline. However, it has taken until now, 2020, for large stores like Walmart to finally begin pulling CDs and players from their store shelves. Ironically, they are restocking those shelves with vinyl records and record players.
This just goes to show that sometimes what was old may very well become new again, so it might be advisable to hang on to the old CDs you have probably spent years collecting and any CD player you have that still works. It could be just a matter of time before they come back in style again one day!