CD compilations The multi-artist compilation album made a comeback in the 1990s. These collections featured current chart hits and party mixes, as well as nostalgia for the 1980s and the days of disco.
The long-running Now That's What I Call Music series was launched in England in 1983. The first CD in the American series was released in 1998, and featured hits by Hanson, the Spice Girls and the Backstreet Boys.
These collections were definitely hipper than those old K-tel albums from back in the day!
The cassette format experienced its greatest popularity between 1985 and 1992. During this time, sales of albums on cassette surpassed both LPs and CDs. This was a period of transition, when music lovers disposed of their turntables, built up their CD collections, and enjoyed the convenience and portability of the walkman. Tapes filled the gap perfectly.
Cassette singles were also somewhat popular in the 1990s. Sales of music singles had been in decline since 1983, thanks to the demise of vinyl records and a renewed focus on album releases. By 1995, cassette singles had helped to reverse this downward trend.
The CD was introduced in 1982. By 1993, it was the #1 recording format, having surpassed vinyl LPs in 1988 and cassettes in 1993. By 1990, most record stores were selling their last remaining vinyl albums for $1 each to get rid of them.
Many individual songs were released as CD singles. They sold reasonably well in Europe and Japan, but had only modest success in the United States.
In the 1990s, a variety of programs were available that could extract audio tracks from a CD and store them on your computer. The files were encoded in several formats, including AIFF, WAV, WMA and MP3. A computer media player and a set of speakers were all you needed to transform your desktop into a stereo system.
In the early 1990s, the birth of the World Wide Web (1991) and the MP3 audio format (1993) began to change the way we listen to music. The format's high quality sound and small file size made it the most popular format for sharing music online. Beginning in 1993, a handful of pioneering websites arose that specialized in selling MP3 downloads.
In the late 1990s, music fans could create their own compilation albums by using a CD burner to transfer music to a blank recordable CD.
As the decade came to a close, these digital innovations were already making an impact on the music industry. CD sales began to fall and music downloads began to skyrocket. Illegal file sharing and online music piracy became major issues. Buying and listening to music would never be the same again.
Deee-lite: Groove Is In The Heart
Smashing Pumpkins: Tonight, Tonight
In the early 1990s, the longbox was a popular way to package and sell albums on CD. These large rectangular boxes deterred theft and made it possible for record stores to fill display areas designed for vinyl records.
mega-tours & concerts After falling out of fashion for 25 years, the outdoor music festival was popular once again. The early 1970s saw the end of festivals like Woodstock and the Isle of Wight, but in the 1990s they came back, stronger than ever.
videocassette The VHS videocassette was introduced in 1976, and the first movies on VHS were released the following year. Although VHS rentals declined after DVDs came along, VHS would remain the dominant rental format until 2003.
laserdisc Laserdiscs were introduced in 1978. During the early years, they appealed to a niche audience of movie collectors, but failed to find a market beyond this. The public was interested in movie rentals, and most rental shops didn't stock laserdiscs. The players were also very expensive.
Laserdisc sales increased slightly in the 1990s. The machines became more affordable, and the burgeoning home theater industry made their extra features and superior video quality very desirable. In 1995, digital surround sound also made its home video debut on laserdisc.
In the late 1990s, there were 17,000 laserdisc titles for sale in the United States and 30,000 in Japan. Most laserdiscs were available for purchase only, since very few rental shops found it economical to stock them.
The introduction of the DVD finally made laserdiscs obsolete. Although laserdisc players were produced until 2009, the last laserdisc movies were released in 2000.
DVD DVDs were introduced in 1997. This new video format was the next logical step for home video, and the public accepted it willingly, if a bit slowly at first. By the end of 1999, there were over 6,300 titles on the market.
In the 1990s, movie night meant browsing the shelves of the local video rental shop
video rental shops Video rental shops did a booming business in the 1990s. When the industry began, membership fees were high, rental fees were high, and many stores also charged customers an extra deposit. By the 1990s, most stores had eliminated membership fees and deposits, and rental fees were often as low as $1 per day.
Please be kind...rewind! Of course, you were still charged 50 cents if you failed to rewind the tape before returning it!
Several retail chains jumped on the video rental bandwagon at this time. Between 1986 and 1993, 7-Eleven's MovieQuik service offered video rentals along with their usual menu of snacks and Slurpees. Video rental departments were added to Walmart superstores in 1992 and to Kmart superstores in 1993. Many Dominicks locations also had small video rental sections.
DIVX In 1998, the Circuit City retail chain launched a failed attempt to take over the video rental market by introducing DIVX. This program sold movies on DVD for $4 each, which were playable for 48 hours on a special DIVX player. Customers were charged an extra fee for each viewing after the initial 48 hours. Over 400 titles were eventually released on DIVX, but the program was highly unpopular and was discontinued after only a year.