Compact Disc - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

In our on-going series about music storage formats, the American Treasure Tour blog moves on today into the digital age, and the compact disc.  The dates for technological advances can be surprising, like the use of reel-to-reel magnetic tape as early as the 1930s, even though it wasn't used widely for music storage until the late-70s.  The same goes for the digital technology that would take over the industry in the 1980's.  An American named James T. Russell submitted the first patent for an optical transparent foil as early as 1966.  That foil would become the most important element for compact discs, as well as Laser Discs, and virtually all digital technology.  

Two major companies, the Danish firm Phillips (we met them when discussing audio cassettes) and the Japanese Sony company began developing methods to store music on transparent foil almost immediately.  Both companies made progress, but it was not until 1979, when they combined forces in a joint task force, that they developed the parameters for the compact disc.  4.7 inches in diameter, a CD can hold eighty minutes' worth of uncompressed music.  The first ever pressing of a recording onto CD was Richard Strauss' An Alpine Symphony. That was in 1979. Two years later, ABBA's The Visitors became the first pop music embedded digitally.  In March of 1983, CD players were launched in America and Europe, while CBS Records released sixteen different albums on CD - the "big bang" that began the digital revolution.  

The success of the compact disc at replacing the record and the cassette cannot be denied.  It also transformed the movie and information markets, as it became the standard storage device for them, while simultaneously becoming outdated.  By 2004, worldwide sale of CDs, CD-Roms, and CD-Rs reached thirty billion discs.  Four years later, it was at two hundred discs. Although CDs are the preferred method by many studios to distribute music, music lovers can now get music through downloads as well.  
QUESTION:  Who was(were) the first artist(s) to distribute his entire catalog of music on Compact Discs?
A)  The Beatles
B)  Bruce Springsteen
C)  The Rolling Stones
D)  David Bowie

AMERICA'S FAVORITE PASSTIME - ON TV!  The 1949 World Series was the first time the most famous baseball game was ever broadcast live on television.  It was played between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers - the first in a string of sixteen World Series games (out of eighteen) that set at least one of New York's favorite teams against a rival.  In seven of the games, the Yankees were pitted against either the Dodgers or the New York Giants.  Spoiler Alert:  the Yankees won in 1949, four games to one.

QUOTE:  I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring. - David Bowie

ANSWER:  D)  David Bowie