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Remember the MiniDisc? Way better than a cassette. In the 1990s, Sony once hyped its format with ads starring supermodel Claudia Shiffer.
The MiniDisc is a little optical disc in a cartridge the size of a thin pad of Post-it Notes. Sony has announced it is killing off the format this month.
“I think I was actually pretty close to the target, I was about 13 at the time,” says Seth Fiegerman, writer for the website Mashable, who bought into the MiniDisc craze as an impressionable youth.
According to Michael Bierylo, Chair of the Electronics Production and Design Department at the Berklee College of Music, the MiniDisc was engineered to make imperfect copies in an effort to curb music piracy.
But the loss of the format makes life tough for musicians.
“A lot of the things I did in the 90s on a computer, the software that was used to make the production, the companies are no longer in business and modern computers won’t run the software,” says Bierylo.
Bierylo, who has boxes of old floppy disks from the 90s, says he jokes with his wife that he’d like to mount a exhibit of obsolete formats, like the consumer electronics version of the Island of Misfit Toys.
To hear more about the origin of the MiniDisc, click on the audio player above.