Compact Disc Pioneer Dies

04/26/2011
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(Gibson) The mastermind credited with driving the development of the compact disc has died. Norio Ohga, who was hired full-time by Sony in 1959, passed away on April 23 from multiple organ failure. He was 81.

Time.com reports that Sony initially hired Ohga back in 1953 as a sound/electrical engineering consultant while he was studying music at Tokyo University. He is credited with standardizing the size (12 centimeters) and capacity (75 minutes) of compact discs, which, according to Sony, were created to provide "sufficient recording capacity at 75 minutes to enable listeners to enjoy all of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony without interruption."

Ohga's rise up the ladder at Sony was impressive, holding the position of president until 1995 then chairman until 2003, after which he became a senior adviser. According the Wall Street Journal, Sony's Chief Executive, Howard Stringer, said of Ohga: "It is no exaggeration to attribute Sony's evolution beyond audio and video products into music, movies and game, and subsequent transformation into a global entertainment leader, to Ohga-san's foresight and vision."

Billy Joel's 1978 album 52nd Street was the first album to be released on compact disc by Sony Entertainment in 1982. more on this story

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