Who would have guessed that the size of a CD had anything to do with Beethoven’s Ninth? If this is true we should all be singing a song of joy in celebration of the life of the recently deceased Norio Ohga. As the story goes, Norio Ohga was an opera singer, and not a withering one at that. If he felt that technology wasn’t good enough for the singer, he wrote angry letters to the companies. And it was just such a letter that launched his career at the Sony Corporation where he would eventually have a hand in developing the CD. Perhaps you know a CD is 12 centimeters in diameter and that it holds 75 minutes of music. It is commonly thought that this is because Norio insisted that the CD should be of a size that would contain Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in its entirety. But not all agree that this is true. Too bad that fun stories are often not true.
Along the way Norio would go on to head up the Sony Corporation where it is said he was influential in developing a range of Sony products including the Playstation and the Walkman. Remember the Walkman? Born in 1979 for cassette tapes, it was the first personal music device. It also is connected to opera. The then head of Sony wanted to be able to listen to opera on trans-Pacific flights. After CDs were created, there was the Discman, later renamed, CD Walkman. As it turns out the cassette version is still in production for Asia and the Middle East. Of course in the age of digital we now have the Sony Ericsson Walkman phone. How smart is that? In any case, Norio Ohga has left the earth but the CD lives on.
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