C.D.’s Are Fading Into History
I’ll never forget the first time I saw a demonstration of the new compact disc (C.D.) music technology. Up until that time, C.D. was exclusively an acronym for an investment option called a Certificate of Deposit which gave you a nice 10% yearly return on your money.
I was doing a live radio remote at a pawn shop in Killeen, Texas, in the early 80’s and they were selling new home c.d. players. The new devices actually played the disc vertically, so that you could see the rainbow of colors that glinted off the surface of the c.d. when it spun around the spindle. I remember the salesperson telling me that this new technology would soon replace cassette tapes in the car. Which really bummed me out, because a few months before I had paid a bundle for a new Sanyo cassette stereo for my old Monte Carlo. Back then it was okay if you had a beater of a car as long as you had a bitchin’ stereo in it.
I was reminded of this because it was on this day, July 26th, in 2011 that Ford Motor Company announced that it would soon discontinue equipping their new vehicles with c.d. players. That announcement did not come to fruition until earlier this year. In March Ford announced that it will be eliminating the c.d. player from all future new models.
So, like its name-twin the investment c.d. which now gives you a 1.5% annual return on your money, (if you’re lucky), the once ubiquitous audio c.d. is quickly declining in popularity. Soon c.d.’s will become the anachronisms that cassettes are today.
Which is sad because we’re losing an art form. The album cover and its successor the c.d. insert, were works of art. Artists like Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali designed them. Photographers like Annie Leibovitz and Man Ray took stunning photographs of the stars who graced the covers and liner notes. Many people who are consuming music today don’t even know what it’s like to hold a physical representation of the music in their hands. To them it’s just another piece of “content” to consume which is of no more value than a silly cat video on YouTube.
All technology is destined to be obsolete; I get that. I’ve got songs on my IPhone and I plug a USB into my daughter’s car when we’re visiting her in Tyler and we’re driving somewhere together. But I’m hanging on to my c.d.’s and old albums. Not because I refuse to get with the times, but because they may be collector’s items and give me a better return than a Certificate of Deposit.