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Music CD Capacity

What is a Music CD Capacity in terms of minutes?

They are with us in our lives but most of us don’t really know how much as we fit onto a CD? Our ipods are almost inexhaustible but until we start putting music on discs, the question doesn’t even cross our minds.

Officially, red book audio, the technical term for the standards that spell out what makes an audio cd an audio cd, tell us that a disc will hold 74 minutes. The reason its 74 minutes is as the story goes, when Phillips was developing the CD, they decided to find the longest piece of music they could find and make it so. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was the longest symphony in terms of time – it takes a full 74 minutes when you follow marked tempos from start to finish with a small break between movements. Well, that’s the story anyway.

The reasoning being – no one is as great as Beethoven, thus no one will write anything longer than 74 minutes, thus a CD is 74 minutes long.

And then came the 80 CDR.

So will officially red book audio ends at 74:30, you can fit up to 80 minutes on a single disc.

Now when it comes to CD players that’s a whole nuther story. While Music CDS have standards and guidelines and what works and what will not, CD players, the machines that playback the audio CDs, have NO standards – they can read whole or partial red book audio tolerances or not. So you could have a CD that is perfectly good and holds 80 minutes of music but you put it in a CD player and that player is set to stop reading with the laser at 74 minutes 30 seconds. So you might think you have a defective CD but in reality the CD is fine and the player is fine, they just aren’t set up to match.

And yes, the 74 minute parameters includes the seconds inbetween the tracks.

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