Turns out that exactly 30 years ago today, the music industry introduced a groundbreaking new product that would eventually phase out the 8-tracks, tape cassettes and the large vinyl collection we had grown to love. Catapulting music into the first stages of the Digital era, Compact Discs revolutionized the Music Business, changed the way we collected and listened to our musical collections, and changed technology via the Reed–Solomon coding and CD mass encoding.
So what were the first albums that made it to Compact Disc format? The first album to be manufactured in CD format was The Visitors by ABBA back in 1981 — while Billy Joel’s sixth album 52 Street had the honor of being the first album to be RELEASED in tape, vinyl and CD format. Joel’s 52 Street album wasn’t new at the time, already being released in 1978, but with the introduction of the very first Home Compact Disc Player being released for consumer use just a week before (costing a mindblowing $900), the industry was looking for a popular music album to pair it up with to boost sales.
Although CD sales have taken large hits in this new era of MP3s, iTunes and live internet streaming, the CD still remains one of the most popular ways to purchase your music in physical format along with vinyl records, which have been making a strong comeback in the last few years.