The fact is a lot of people never knew it existed in the first place, although it had been widely marketed by such consumer stores such as “Best Buy.”
But it never “quite” succeeded the way standard CDs and DVDs obviously did.
Sony, the inventor of the MD format, marketed several models of both consumer and broadcast/professional-use equipment. Radio stations embraced it as a convenient and less expensive replacement for cartridge equipment. The beloved “cart machine” had been universally used for decades for professional use. Radio stations routinely used “carts” to play both commercials and music. If you worked in radio or television during the 1960s-1980s, you knew them well.
The MD format arrived over a decade ago. More robust and reliable than standard CDs, MD’s found extensive use in broadcasting. Earlier hard-drive (computer) based automation systems were expensive, and could be cumbersome. Many used proprietary interfaces with modified DOS-based operating systems. If you knew how to use a computer, that didn’t necessarily mean you knew how to use a broadcast system.
That has all changed. For the better.
Todays’ full blown automation software can run reliably on standard office computers (assuming they meet the required specifications). Major broadcast software developers also offer factory built hardware with their software pre-installed and tested for “mission critical” use.
The Mini Disc format was largely a “transition” medium in the broadcast world, but helped keep Sony’s technology alive a few years longer. Today, only Tascam manufactures a single studio-use MD model. The continued availability of that equipment (and blank disc availability) remains a question.
The future is already here. If you own an MD machine for home use, enjoy it. Because when it breaks, you won't be able to buy another one. If you can actually get it repaired, the cost of the repair will be greater than what the price of the machine was... brand new.
Technology marches forward!
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