Ongoing History Daily: Enhanced CDs

Back in the late 90s when computers started coming with CD-ROM drives, some labels and artists started releasing what was known as “enhanced CDs.” These were albums that came with all the usual audio but also contained material that could only be accessed by loading the discs into a computer.

You might get a video, a live performance, lyric sheets, desktop wallpapers, photos, or some other audio-visual content. Some groups even included full fanzines. It was all very, very cool for the time. There were a few problems, though.

First, if your CD player tried to play the enhanced tracks, you’d get a blast of static that could damage your equipment. Second, some enhanced discs were difficult to rip to MP3s. And third, the quality of this enhanced material wasn’t very good because of a CD’s data storage capacity.

Acts eventually decided that it was best to move this material over to DVDs.

Was there ever a female member of the Beastie Boys? That story is in yesterday’s post.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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