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This Day In Audio/Tech History - August 17th

First commercial music CDs made.

Claudio Arrau.JPG

On August 17, 1982 the first commercial music CDs were manufactured, pressed in Langenhagen, (near Hanover in then West Germany) by Polygram Records, a subsidiary of Royal Phillips Electronics. The CD standard, which was co-developed by Phillips and Sony , was intended to be the successor to the phonograph record. While CDs did dominate the market well into the 21st century, vinyl albums never fully disappeared, and are currently experiencing something of a resurgence.These first products were CD versions of recently released vinyl albums.

The first compact disc made was a classical recording of famed pianist Claudio Arrau performing Chopin waltzes. Arrau was invited to the Langenhagen plant to press the start button. Like most of the Phillips Classical music releases, the album has been released and re-released a number of times in various incarnations.

Later that same day they cranked out the first popular music CD. It was The Visitors; the eighth and final studio album produced by ABBA. By the time the CD actually went on sale in November of that year, another 150 other titles had been made at the same factory.

Neither the Arrau nor the ABBA albums, however, were the first one to be released on CD. That honour went to Billy Joel's 52nd Street, which hit the market alongside Sony's CDP-101 CD player on October 1st that same year in Japan.

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