Magneto-optical disc-based data storage format, introduced in 1983 by Kees Schouhamer Immink and Joseph Braat. The idea was commercialized by Sony in 1992. It was targeted as a replacement for the Philips Compact cassette. By the time Sony introduced the MiniDisc, Philips had introduced a competing system, the Digital Compact Cassette (DCC).
Despite having a loyal customer base largely of musicians and audio enthusiasts, MiniDisc met with only limited success. It was relatively popular in Japan during the 1990s but did not enjoy comparable sales in other world markets. The initial low uptake of MiniDisc was attributed to the small number of pre-recorded albums available on MD as relatively few record labels embraced the format. The initial high cost of equipment and blank media was also a factor. Mains-powered hi-fi MiniDisc player/recorders never got into the lower price ranges, and most consumers had to connect a portable machine to the hi-fi in order to record. This inconvenience contrasted with the earlier common use of cassette decks as a standard part of an ordinary hi-fi set-up.
The biggest competition for MiniDisc came from the emergence of MP3 players. With the Diamond Rio player in 1998 and the Apple iPod, the mass market began to eschew physical media in favor of file-based systems.By 2007, because of the waning popularity of the format and the increasing popularity of solid-state MP3 players, Sony was producing only one model, the Hi-MD MZ-RH1, also available as the MZ-M200 in North America packaged with a Sony microphone and limited Apple Macintosh software support. The introduction of the MZ-RH1 allowed users to freely move uncompressed digital recordings back and forth from the MiniDisc to a computer without the copyright protection limitations previously imposed upon the NetMD series. This allowed the MiniDisc to better compete with HD recorders and MP3 players. However, even pro users like broadcasters and news reporters had already abandoned MiniDisc in favor of solid-state recorders, due to their long recording times, open digital content sharing, high-quality digital recording capabilities and reliable, lightweight design. On 7 July 2011, Sony announced that it would no longer ship MiniDisc Walkman products as of September 2011, effectively killing the format.
On 1 February 2013, Sony issued a press release on the Nikkei stock exchange that it will cease shipment of MD devices, with last of the players to be sold in March 2013. However, it would continue to sell blank discs and offer repair services.
Kate Bush on MiniDisc
In the UK, EMI released two Kate Bush albums on MiniDisc: The Red Shoes in 1993 and The Whole Story in 1998.
In the USA, Columbia released two Kate Bush albums on MiniDisc: The Sensual World in 1989 and The Red Shoes in 1993.