Years ago, one of the things I did for fun was to make cassette tape collections of music for listening at leisure, in the car or at home, for parties where there’d be dancing or parties where there wouldn’t, etc. There was a bit of an art to it, choosing the right tunes in the right order so that each new song would make an interesting “segue” from the last, keeping the party rolling, and being able to eyeball just how much time was left on a tape so that the last song on the side wouldn’t be cut off and wouldn’t leave a big gap of silence at the end.
Then came Sony’s MiniDisc system, featuring a little CD about 2-1/2 inches across encased in flat arrangement of hard plastic. Each one held a convenient 74 minutes of music AND (important advantage over cassettes) the order of the songs could be rearranged, songs deleted or added at will, so that if some “segue” didn’t quite work, I could fix it. As with cassettes, I could record straight from LP or CD with the MiniDisc recorder hooked up to my stereo. I guess it was around 1998 when I bought into this technology, and I’ve still got about 50 of these little “MD 74” discs sitting around, the portable player that runs them, and the adapter to get that to work through a car’s cassette player.
It’s been years since I’ve had a car with a cassette player, but what REALLY killed the MiniDisc was iTunes. Now I have an iPod Touch, a smaller gadget than the Walkman-sized portable MiniDisc player, which holds THOUSANDS of songs, HOURS upon HOURS of songs, in as many different playlists as I like without even needing a pile of MiniDiscs handy for swapping out. The only thing I’ve lost is the ability to record from an LP (and I could pay for that technology if I wanted to take the trouble), but I’ve gained a wonderful amount of convenience and flexibility. So today the dusty old MiniDisc recorder is out of my possession and on to the land of antique curiosities.