Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Chown, Jeffrey

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Communication


Music trade--United States--History--20th century; Compact discs--History


The compact disc was brought to the United States marketplace in 1982. Although the disc was a major improvement over existing home playback technology, it was not recordable. The industry did not make a recordable compact disc available to the public until nearly a decade later. Finally, when the consumer recordable system became available, the new disc was incompatible with the original disc system. Questions examined in this thesis revolve around: What has propelled technological change in the compact disc industry? Why has the public had to wait so long for a recordable compact disc? This thesis will suggest that modem corporate capitalism is a very important factor in the research and development of electronic technology. The consumer's best interests are not always met by the companies who control the music industry. Technology may be introduced more in terms of what the market will bear, than in terms of what the latest scientific development will allow. Could it be that a strategy of planned obsolescence may account for why many recordable systems developed in the early and middle 1980s never reached the market in a timely fashion? This study will consider several explanations behind the ten-year wait for consumer digital disc recording.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [67]-77)


77 pages




Northern Illinois University

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