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What is a CD?

Compact discs and their descendant optical media are a dominant means of distributing music, multimedia, and software in advance of the roll-out of high-bandwidth internet connections. But for many, their age appears to have passed; here, a CD is used as an improvised rear-view mirror on a moped in the West African republic of BĂ©nin. Image by Fawaz.tairou, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

In the 1990s, CDs became so ubiquitous that it’s hard to imagine that previous generations – and future generations – might be mystified by these shiny round things. But just what were they? Hear how different people remember CDs being described in the early days of their development:

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