Sony finally discontinuing the MiniDisc after more than 20 years

By on February 1, 2013, 11:30 AM

Sony announced plans to discontinue the MiniDisc player nearly two years ago following a surprising 21 year run. The company is just now getting around to putting the final nail in the coffin of the forgotten format as the last units will leave the assembly line next month.

Sony’s MiniDisc player was the next big thing when it debuted way back in 1992. The aptly-named format was able to stuff music onto a small optical disc about half as large as a compact disc. The idea was to make the format easier to transport while still holding around 80 minutes worth of tunes but truth be told, it never really took off among US consumers due to a number of reasons.

For one, pricing on the format was very expensive which didn’t drop much over the years. Furthermore, very few new music releases were sold in the format. We are told the MiniDisc was fairly popular in Japan but nowhere else.

The fact that Sony kept the format around this long is puzzling at best considering it was never able to compete with the compact disc in the ‘90s and it certainly didn’t stand a chance when digital music took off with the introduction of the iPod in 2001.

Truth be told, I wasn’t even aware that the MiniDisc was still being actively produced. Given Sony’s recent woes and restructuring effort, one has to wonder why this technology wasn’t axed much sooner.




User Comments: 11

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Littleczr Littleczr said:

I remember those from the 90s. Who even used these things in 2013?

fimbles fimbles said:

+1 to the " Never knew these things were still being used" group.

MilwaukeeMike said:

I had a friend with one of these back in 1999, and they were really cool for the time. You could record your own songs to the disc from your CDs and use it as a discman with your own mixed discs. What made it so much better than a discman was it was half the size and could literally shake it and it wouldn't skip (any old farts here remember seeing people running while holding their discman level in their hand?). that made it awesome for running/working out.

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Jos Jos said:

I loved my MiniDisc back in the day. It was really well built, very portable, easy to use, transfers were relatively fast and audio quality was good. Much better than the early MP3 players and MP3 disc players of the time. I used mine day in and day out for almost a couple of years... and then the iPod came along.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

I loved my MiniDisc back in the day. It was really well built, very portable, easy to use, transfers were relatively fast and audio quality was good. Much better than the early MP3 players and MP3 disc players of the time. I used mine day in and day out for almost a couple of years... and then the iPod came along.

How long is "Almost a couple of years"?

VitalyT VitalyT said:

I still have them, just as a piece of history, although they still play well

kissx kissx said:

I have 2 mini disc players. they been in my basemant museum since 2004.

SalaSSin said:

I know several pianists and other musicians that still actively use minidisc, as it's very compact, and has a very crisp recording sound, which is absolutely necessary for classical music.

killeriii said:

I have 2 mini disc players. they been in my basemant museum since 2004.

lol, same.

Still work great too.

Arris Arris said:

Mines met with an accident and by that time mp3 players were doing well so made the switch (to a sony first). Was a great unit and a big upgrade from the high end cassette walkman I had at uni. Like most other posters I'm surprised it's continued the line this long.

PinothyJ said:

One of THE greatest if not greatest post-rock record label gets its name from the humble MiniDisc -- n5md, as it used to be just MDs -- so I guess I have a lot to thank Sony over for the format...

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