Sony has confirmed that Norio Ohga, the man widely credited with inventing CD’s, has died. Ohga was first hired by the company in the 1970’s, after he wrote to complain about the sound quality from cassette tapes. Ohga was laughed at when he first came up with the idea of the CD, which he insisted must be 4.8 inches wide. He also said that it should hold 75 minutes of music, enough to contain the whole of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Back in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, that was quite a technical challenge.
CD’s went on to dominate music for much of the 1980’s and 1990’s, and are still popular in the age of the download. Some people believe, however, that CD’s will ultimately die out. While vinyl (and to a lesser extent cassette tapes) survive because people enjoy the physicality of those products – including the ability to manipulate sound – CD’s do not really offer the same options.