This article is from the CD-Recordable FAQ, by Andy McFadden (firstname.lastname@example.org) with numerous contributions by others.
Some information about "the goode olde days" can be found in Robert
Starrett's "The History of CD-R" article, currently available from
The first CD player was available in Japanese stores on October 1, 1982.
CD-Recordable technology wasn't introduced until 1988. For a timeline,
Back in the late 1980s, CD recorders cost thousands of dollars, and were
part of systems the size of a washing machine. Disks cost US$100.00 each.
Things started to get better in 1995, when Yamaha released the CDR100
(the first 4x recorder) for a mere US$5000.00. In September of 1995,
HP released the 4020i (a 2x recorder based on the Philips CDD2000) for
just under US$1000.00. Media was down to about US$8.00, though 80-minute
discs were extremely rare and expensive (US$40.00 each, if you could find
them at all).