Compact disc

Philips celebrates 25th anniversary of the compact disc


  • The world’s first CD made at the Philips factory near Hanover, Germany, August 17, 1982
  • CD co-developed by Philips and Sony – over 200 billion CDs sold in the last 25 years
  • CD ushered in the switch from analog to digital in the music industry, spawned new digital technologies, including CD-Rom and DVD

Exactly 25 years ago tomorrow, August 17, 1982, Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) made the world’s first compact disc at a Philips factory in Langenhagen, just outside Hanover, Germany. The invention of the CD ushered in a technological revolution in the music industry as CDs – with their superior sound quality and scratch-free durability – marked the beginning of the shift from analog music technology to digital technology. The CD has become a catalyst for new innovations in digital entertainment, helping to pave the way for the launch of DVD and the current introduction of Blu-ray optical media. Having played a key role in innovating digital music, at home and on the go, consumers continue to witness huge advancements in entertainment and lifestyle technologies.

The Philips factory in Germany, where the world’s first CD was pressed, was owned by Polygram, the record company that Philips owned at the time. The first CD to be made at the factory was The Visitors by ABBA. By the time CDs were introduced to the market in November 1982, a catalog of about 150 titles – mostly classical music – had been produced. The first CDs and CD players, including the Philips CD100, were introduced in Japan in November, followed by an introduction in the US and European markets in March 1983.

Philips and Sony have teamed up to develop the CD – a collaboration based on open innovation has positioned the CD as a standard for the music industry As early as 1979, Philips and Sony set up a joint working group of engineers to design the new digital audio disc. Many decisions were made in the following year, such as the diameter of the disc. The original target storage capacity for a CD was one hour of audio content, and a disc diameter of 115mm was sufficient for this, but both sides expanded the capacity to 74 minutes to accommodate a full performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. In June 1980, the new standard was proposed by Philips and Sony as the “Red Book” containing all technical specifications for all CD and CD-Rom standards.

Piet Kramer, who at the time was a member of the Philips optical group which made significant contributions to CD technology, commented on the collaborative work of Philips and Sony: “When Philips partnered with Sony to develop the CD , our first target was to conquer the world for the CD. We did this by openly collaborating to agree on a new standard. For Philips, this open innovation was a new approach – and it paid off. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, we never imagined that one day the computer and entertainment industries would also switch to digital CDs to store the growing volume of data for computer programs and movies.

In 1985, Philips and Dire Straits team up to promote the compact disc As music industry CD sales started to take off in 1983, over 1,000 different titles were on the market. In 1985, one of the most famous groups in the world, Dire Straits, adopted the CD. The infamous Brothers in Arms album, one of the first fully digital recordings (DDD) to hit the market, became the best-selling CD at the time and the third best-selling CD of the decade. The collaboration with Philips allowed Philips and Dire Straits to jointly promote the sound quality of the CD to consumers, making Brothers in Arms the first album to sell over a million copies in this new format, marking the CD’s success as the emerging format of choice for music quality.

“The Compact Disc has proven its importance in providing the highest quality music to consumers who want to enjoy scratch-free music. The enormous success of the CD over the past twenty-five years has opened up many new opportunities for consumers to get the most out of their music at home and on the go, ”said Lucas Covers, senior vice president and general manager Philips Consumer Electronics marketing. . “This has played a central role in the shift from analog music to digital, especially for DVD as well as in music, but also in helping to lay the groundwork for new technologies such as Blu-ray quality today,” he added.

Over 200 billion CDs have been sold worldwide over the past 25 years. R, DVD-RW and Blu-ray. Philips estimates that in the past 25 years, since the first CD was pressed at the Philips factory near Hanover, Germany, more than 200 billion CDs have been sold worldwide. Even if a single CD is only 1.2mm thick, if all CDs ever produced were stacked, the stack of CDs would circle the earth six times. Compact disc, as well as DVD disc, remain a very popular music / video medium, due to their digital quality, portability and resistance to damage, and remain a very popular gift.

About Royal Philips Electronics
Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) is a global leader in health, lifestyle and technology, delivering products, services and solutions through the promise of brand of “meaning and simplicity”. Based in the Netherlands, Philips employs around 125,800 people in more than 60 countries around the world. With sales of 27 billion euros in 2006, the company is a market leader in medical diagnostic imaging and patient monitoring systems, energy efficient lighting solutions, personal and household care devices, as well as consumer electronics.