Development of the CD has it's roots way back in the 1950s when scientists began developing laserdisc technology of which the CD is a spinoff (no pun intended). A boatload of technical considerations had to be addressed and problems overcome before it could be made into something marketable to a mass audience but by 1981 Sony and Philips Electronics were finally ready to launch what they envisioned as the successor the the vinyl recording. It became that alright and a whole lot more.

March 2, 1983 is often seen as the "Big Bang" of the digital music revolution because on that day CBS Records released 16 titles on CD in the US, an event timed to coincide with the release of the first CD players in the US market.

Gradually throughout the mid and late 80s CDs began to nudge aside LPs on record store shelves. 1985 saw the first million selling music CD, Dire Straits Brothers In Arms. The same year David Bowie released his entire catalog on CD, (the first popular music artist to do so). Also in 1985 Sony and Philips released the first CD-ROMs which would blossom into the digital storage device of choice for the next 2 decades.

The transition from vinyl to CD is one of the major popular culture developments of the 1980s as it signaled an unmistakable break with the past matched only perhaps by the leap from radio to television that occurred in the years after World War II. By the end of the decade CDs were everywhere and if you were still listening to music on vinyl or cassette tape you just didn't get it. A decade that began with living rooms crammed with stacks of scratched and warped vinyl records moldering away in cardboard sleeves ended with neat little CD racks full of digital music. The turntable became a museum item and the amplifier, such a mainstay of 1970s audiophile culture, just faded into memory.