Compact discs and four other favorite obsolete music formats
Traditionally, CDs are supercheap to make, way cheaper than either vinyl or cassette, especially on the mass production level. But somehow Spec's, Virgin Megastore, and other now-extinct compact disc pushers still charged upward of $20 per unit. The irony is that the vinyl-to-cassette-to-CD transition inherently introduced the technology that would undo physical music formats forever: digitization.
The world went from getting seriously ripped off to perpetrating intellectual property theft on a daily basis, leaving compact discs in the dust. And now the recording industry is finally preparing to officially announce that CDs are dead. Which means it's time to count down our favorite obsolete music formats.
5. Thomas Edison's wax phonographic cylinder: Ol' T.E. was the OG audiophile. And his wax cylinder was the beginning of the industry that turned music into a commercial unit that could be bought and sold. Next time you meet someone who tells you vinyl is their preferred medium, ask if they've ever heard Dark Side of the Moon on wax cylinder.
4. Gramophone record: The gramophone record was Edison's chief competitor. And we like those old gramophones you have to crank because you gotta put a little work into listening. No such thing as a free lunch, ya hippie.
3. LearJet Stereo 8 eight-track tape: We've chosen this particular brand of eight-track because of the bonus pain-in-the-ass of having to restructure albums around LearJet's inflexible formatting. Most albums were forced to rearrange track listings or suffer long gaps of awkward silence between songs.
2. MiniDisc: The MiniDisc was huge in Japan (of course), but we're pretty sure everyone in the States just popped their first MD into the car stereo's CD player and never saw it again. Jammed up the stereo too. These things suck.
1. Compact disc: Now that compact disc production is on its way out, the medium is about to plunge straight underground. Just like vinyl and cassette, cheap CD (and CD-R!) pressings will soon be the new cool thang. Get ready for a fresh fetish format!
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.