The CD is celebrating its 25th birthday this year. Many companies were involved in the development of the Compact Disk standard spearheaded by Sony and Phillips. The ABBA album The Visitors was the first album pressed in an early trial of Makrolon(r) – the synthetic clear material that makes the physical Compact Disk possible. This test pressing which occurred 25 years ago on 20th June 1982 was a success; it introduced technology that would enable the general consumer to enjoy a new level of sound quality from recorded music and would change the way music could be heard in the mass market.
In the early 80s, the new Compact Disc technology offered a new standard of consumer audio quality which took up less space than traditional LPs while also increasing storage capacity. This new CD technology was developed by a taskforce led by Sony and Phillips with the record distributer PolyGram (which was in turn owned by Phillips) and the German company Bayer playing leading roles. Bayer oversaw the ABBA test pressing in order to test the synthetic material which would be used to create Compact Disks. The CD's success paved the way for the DVD, and over the years improvements and enhancements in technology have provided consumers with the ability to burn their own music and films on blank CD and DVD disks. In only 25 years these things have become such a big and natural part of our lives that the LP format – not to mention the old 78' format – has largely disappeared for the general consumer.
The first people to hear a full album on CD may well have been developers listening to ABBA, but the first 16 commercial CDs were released by CBS/Sony in Japan on 1 October 1982. Most sources say a Japanese pressing of Billy Joel's 52nd street was the first commercially available offering of the new Compact Disk.
The esctoday.com team would like to wish the CD a "Happy birthday".