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Compact Disc

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DEFINITION:  A CD or Compact Disc is an optical disc storage technology used for digital audio. It is, aside from the ever-popular mp3 player, the standard playback medium for audio recordings.  A CD can hold up to 80 minutes of audio on one disc, allowing customers to experience the full album without having to flip a side.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION:   The information stored on a CD starts at the center of the disc and reads outwards toward the edge. This allows the CD to be manufactured in different sizes, such as the Mini-Disc which can store up to 24 minutes of audio data.

Multiple CD variations often describe the way data is stored on the discs:

  • CD-R has a 12cm diameter and can store up to 703MB of data. They are principally used for recording music.
  • Mini-Disc is only 8 cm in diameter but can only store 210MB of digital data.
  • GOLD DISCS use gold in place of the standard aluminum reflective coating to provide greater longevity and reduce CD rot. Typically coveted by audiophiles in CLASSICAL, OPERA and JAZZ music.
  • CD-ROM uses the same format as an audio compact disc to store computer data.
  • CD-R is a recordable compact disc, although the recorded data is permanent.
  • CD-RW is a rewritable optical disc format which stores up to 700MB of data.


- The concept of the Compact Disc was invented in 1965 by Electronics pioneer James Russell. [1]
- The CD, as we know it today, was originally proposed by Phillips Electronics, alongside Sony, in 1978.
- Philips and Sony also pioneered music CDs through their major Record Labels,
Philips Decca Classics and Sony BMG Masterworks.
- The first commercial CD ever released was the 1981 album "
THE VISITORS" by popular pop music group, ABBA.
- The first CD to sell over a million albums was "


Since its founding in 1960, TOWER RECORDS has pioneered the retail concept of the "music megastore" by offering music in almost every format available.  Customers often recount that they owe their first CD shopping experience to a trip to Tower Records.

Here are but a few memorable "First Album Purchases at Tower" that have been shared over the years:

"The first album I ever purchased was the Who's Sell Out, back in 1970 on LP.  I later picked it up when they released the CD version.  It is such a classic!" - Michael Becker, Indianapolis, IN

"13 Songs by Fugazi changed the way I thought about music and introduced me to the sounds of Alternative music way more than Nirvana or Pearl Jam ever did.  I owe thanks to my local Tower Records clerk for that!" - Phil, Detroit, MI

"I remember going to Tower with my dad after Michael Jackson's Bad was released.  Obviously it was the first and greatest album I have ever been given!" - Sheila Winters, Los Angeles, CA

Browse Tower Records:


  1. The concept of the Compact Disc was invented in 1965 by Electronics pioneer James Russell.
  2. The CD, as we know it today, was originally proposed by Phillips Electronics, alongside Sony, in 1978.

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