Nahaufnahme einer CD


Small disk, big impact

1981 saw the arrival of something special for music lovers: the first CD was presented to the public. The high-tech material Makrolon from Bayer ensured an excellent sound experience.

In the 80s, it was an acoustic revolution: the compact disk (CD) replaced the record as a medium for music in next to no time. The first attempts were made as early as the 1970s, when technicians from many electronics companies were painstakingly researching the possibilities of optical digital data recording. Sony and Philips finally developed the well-known silver disk in 1979. In 1980, they set down the technical specifications for CD audio recording in the form of the Red Book standard. This standard made it possible for any CD player to play any audio CD – as long as the manufacturer adhered to the standard. The CD was presented to the public for the first time at the 1981 consumer electronics trade show IFA in Berlin.

Bayer played a central role in the development: researchers from the company had developed the  high-tech plastic Makrolon a specially cut type of polycarbonate that enabled the laser to read the digital code on a CD without error. The material also scored points in terms of storage capacity, data readability, and resilience.

First pop CD made of Makrolon: “The Visitors” by ABBA

The first pop CD made of Makrolon to be launched on the market was the ABBA album “The Visitors” in 1982. Fans were delighted with the new sound quality in which they could enjoy the music of the iconic Swedish band from that point on. Six years later, 100 million audio CDs had been produced worldwide. At the same time, the first systems for burning CDs came onto the market.

Records were left behind and largely disappeared from the shops in the early 90s. Many music lovers switched to audio CDs, which resulted in record sales for the music industry. And today? Streaming portals are rivalling CDs. According to the German Music Industry Association, streaming portals’ sales exceeded that of CDs for the first time in 2018.

(Header: Thomas Breher – pixabay)

Place of invention of Makrolon

Bayer, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Allee 60, 51373 Leverkusen