Sony MiniDisc: The (Not) Forgotten Audio Format That (Never) Failed

By the early 1990s, the humble compact cassette was starting to show its age. Electronics giant Sony developed what it believed to be the best successor to tape -- but so did a former business partner.

Special thanks to: Viewer Asaf for loaning several MiniDisc portables and accessories; V-Sync Co. Ltd. for providing archival photos; and to fellow SEblackrs LGR, Geek Therapy Radio and Computer Clan for video clips.

Due to SEblack video description character limits, I've posted the complete list of media credits, sources, and additional research material on my Patreon page -- it's freely available for all to access:


Please consider supporting my work on Patreon:

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram! @thisdoesnotcomp


Music by
Birocratic ( ), Epidemic Sound ( ), Lakey Inspired ( ) and Dan Mason ( ).
Intro music by BoxCat Games ( ).


  • Gusty Maat
    Gusty Maat3 timmar sedan

    The PSP helped with the over stock of blank Mini Discs... pro'ly

    EDWIN PASUQUIN4 timmar sedan

    well said sony is the real thing specially in AUDIO/MUSIC format... they made an audio format which they compress mp3 files... forgot the name though.

  • Mel Taylor
    Mel Taylor4 timmar sedan

    Very well done. I remember most of these eras. Especially appreciated Napster and limewire.

  • 4 timmar sedan

    Never even heard of dcc

  • 4 timmar sedan

    I still have my Sony mini disc player/recorder still in perfect condition loved this thing bought a bunch of mini disc so I could still use it, and have my Sony mini disc car head unit, still better than cd’s. But alas I use my iPhone to play my music wirelessly now

  • Peter Jon
    Peter Jon8 timmar sedan

    I absolutely loved my minidisc player and minidiscs back in 2002-2004

  • amos
    amos13 timmar sedan

    they sounded so good. I had a four track that was awesome.

  • chrmanlovhum
    chrmanlovhumDag sedan

    Hi! It never took off here in Canada that much, those were very rare and Sam the recrdman had a small collection only, here in Eastern Canada We were still using cassettes and then plunge with CDs, mini disc was small niche and expensive and with the taxes here in Canada, it was prohibitive I think. The Copyright Industry here in Canada is very powerful, maybe that is why. Excellent video, the minidiisc was so rare around Canada that I do not remember the format that much, maybe in bigger Cities or in British Columbia where there are big contingents of Asians. Take good care and have a nice day and God bless.

  • Harold Ishoy
    Harold Ishoy3 dagar sedan

    Thanks for presenting this video, it is informative and very well written. Makes me glad I hung on to the many MD player/recorders, discs, cables remotes and other related items I have.

  • Chloe Hennessey
    Chloe Hennessey3 dagar sedan

    The microphone input was a nod to law enforcement. What better way to up your sales than offer the clearest taped testimony or the clearest audio from an informants worn wire? I remember going through the sheriffs station and in storage are a bunch of those Mini Disc recorders with the microphone in option.

  • The Butler
    The Butler3 dagar sedan

    I had a MiniDisk car stereo, a base unit with keyboard remote, optical cable ... and the Kodac DC4800 camera in the add at 30:51 q8)

  • J W
    J W4 dagar sedan

    I can't recall what happened to my MD player that I had in high school back in the 1990's.. I remember it being being a blue Sony. I really liked it.. I wonder if it is my Mom's basement somewhere. I don't recall selling it.

  • corey Babcock
    corey Babcock5 dagar sedan


  • Gloss
    Gloss6 dagar sedan

    Who else thought of the psp too after seeing that mini disc

  • Gaétan Brisson
    Gaétan Brisson6 dagar sedan

    still have mine (mz-ne410)

  • Steger 13
    Steger 136 dagar sedan

    I love those mini disc. I use to run with mine it never skip. I can store like 4cd in one mini disk. I still have it ater 15 years and still work. Funny they were worry about copying and now copying digital is everywhere.

  • mpd
    mpd6 dagar sedan

    I enjoyed this interesting video. I had MD players. Unfortunately the sound quality is not as good as CDs which are not great to begin with considering the limited resolution. This is why I ditched them in the 90s. The saving grace was that they didn't skip . . . which was the problem with portable CD players replacing the walkman cassettes. Skipping CDs due to vibration was a real problem for me in my car and when walking back in those days. The minidisk used a lossy compression format that was very noticeable when A/B'd vs a CD or vinyl . . . Sound quality was really lacking. Then the iPod came out and that changed everything

  • SuSmallville
    SuSmallville6 dagar sedan

    what is the exact song in the background at 36:25?

  • Antun Katona
    Antun Katona8 dagar sedan

    A fantastic video, thank you! I am quite fond of MiniDisc. I've been wishing for one since 1998 when it first appeared in the shops here. I still have all the catalogs! Finally, I was able to get one in 2004 and I still have it. It was a fortune for a struggling engineering student but I had to have it. I think it instilled a sense of quality and reliability in me. I can safely say that modern-day consumer electronics can't approach what those Japanese manufacturers did at the time. Sadly, I don't use MD any longer but still, the idea of something really excellent has stayed in my mind and to this day I haven't been able to relive the experience, no matter what I try or buy. Cheers, mate!

  • Diego Mendes
    Diego Mendes8 dagar sedan

    Didn't know about DCC, amazing video.

  • Hari Seldon
    Hari Seldon8 dagar sedan

    Thanks so much for this video-I really liked my minidiscs in the early 2000s and I thought Net MD was excellent.

  • Pinoy Po Ako
    Pinoy Po Ako9 dagar sedan

    I go backwards, using my Alexa connected to my Technics 630T cassette deck and ripping music from Spotify to cassettes. I love it!!!

  • Moutton Noir
    Moutton Noir9 dagar sedan

    I still own 2 portable mini disc players and play them now and again. I liked the format, it was certainly a better portable solution than CD walkman! I also loved the convenience of being able to record at double speed- for the first time we had moved away from real time recording which was a real time consuming chore.

  • alexs87
    alexs879 dagar sedan

    i used MD to record my livesets at the club. Best way to do it

  • con fuzz
    con fuzz9 dagar sedan

    dcc was such a error ridden format , if you wanted to play standard cassettes on it your error rate on the digital readout (same read head) would go skyhigh , md on the other hand was much tougher

  • TheLostBoy1974
    TheLostBoy197411 dagar sedan

    I loved the simple but useful editing function on MD.

  • Mark Rutter
    Mark Rutter11 dagar sedan

    If only they had not crippled mp3 playback with proprietary MD format. It was the extra bit of greed that held this back from mass adoption, fair prices and a longer product life.

  • One Hitter Quitter
    One Hitter Quitter11 dagar sedan

    I'm an 80s baby an miss a lot of this. My parents had cassette tapes an went to cd. Never saw anything else.

  • Arend van Campen
    Arend van Campen11 dagar sedan

    Thanks, this gives a die hard md user hope.

  • David Lees
    David Lees12 dagar sedan

    I love my Sony mini disc player and all my MD album's I bought it new in 1996 and it's got a remote and a leather pouch and I've got a nice pear of senhizer headphones whot I use with it nomatter wot I play wether it's rock classical trance reggae eneything the sound is stunning

  • David Lees
    David Lees12 dagar sedan

    In fact it was Philips that bought out the first laserdisc player in I think it wos about 1996 but the format diddent larst long and was took over by dvds in 2002 the laser disc was just to big so that maid it smaller hence the dvd was borne dispite the size of the laserdisc it could onley hold the same stuff wot the smaller dvd could hold so that's why thay maid it smaller

  • David Lees
    David Lees12 dagar sedan

    It was Phillips that bought out the first home cd player in 1982 and it was a top loader meaning like the front loading players you could not stak ather equipment on top of it the first front loading players I think was about 1988

  • David Lees
    David Lees12 dagar sedan

    How remembers the lasor disc from pioneer

  • David Lees
    David Lees12 dagar sedan

    I've still got my Sony mini disc wolkman in amakulat condition I've also got a lot of MD album's I use mini senhizer headphones when ime out and the sound quality is stunning

    YONG CHEN SENG12 dagar sedan

    now no more lol

    ZONAVELHA12 dagar sedan

    still got it still good

  • Quest 321
    Quest 32112 dagar sedan

    Best thing to take to a rave back in 99. All the DJ's wanted me to bring it cause it was a simple plug in to the PA system and boom. Got your set in CD quality. Miss my MD Recorder.

  • Buster Smith
    Buster Smith12 dagar sedan

    Eh I was really interested in this topic but this person presented it in a really boring way. Stopping 6mins in yo find a different video on this topic

  • Brian Korsedal
    Brian Korsedal13 dagar sedan

    I loved mini-disc!

  • pastoo25
    pastoo2513 dagar sedan

    Bringing back the memories.... Here, have an upvote.

  • Coach Alps
    Coach Alps13 dagar sedan

    I bought my first Minidisc back in 2001. It was a Net MD MZ N707. 20 years on, and I'm still using it to this day to record and play music. Despite the ease of copying/playing songs in an iPod (and eventually smartphones), nothing can replace the feeling of having a physical media that you can record and pop into a deck or player. Just a sight of my MD collection in front of my work desk brings nostalgia and simple joy. Choosing just a few of your favorite songs, transferring them into MD, then popping the disc into my Net MD at work or my MD stereo deck at home is something I'll never get tired of. Despite its limitations, it's the perfect format for my listening pleasure, second only to vinyl.

  • LondonUnderground186
    LondonUnderground18613 dagar sedan

    I still have both models MDS-101 and MDS-JE480 at home. I'll never get rid of those. I'm not the one converting myself to the all-exclusive digital era and tools. Yes, they're handy, but when the technology fails, you lose everything if you only store online or on clouds. The analog technology never fails.

  • Sure Thing
    Sure Thing13 dagar sedan


  • VetteD SiN
    VetteD SiN16 dagar sedan

    i miss my sony md.

  • Fernando Martinez
    Fernando Martinez16 dagar sedan

    I always wanted a MD, but it were way too expensive in Latin America. In 1996 I ended getting a CD recording (external SCSI one). My copies were 1:1 from original. So it was *NO* point getting a MD anymore.

  • TS
    TS16 dagar sedan

    I had an MD car stereo hehe.

  • Delassa
    Delassa16 dagar sedan

    Man I would have loved those kiosks to be available. Loved my MD player and would have used the hell out of that.

  • Tiberiu Nicolae
    Tiberiu Nicolae17 dagar sedan

    Flash memory killed all the cool stuff. It was inevitable and for the better... But not as cool for sure

  • DezFoto
    DezFoto17 dagar sedan

    I still have a home component version kicking around here somewhere. I loved the MD, but just like the narrative in the video, I completely dropped it once the iPod came out.

  • Sam Sharpe
    Sam Sharpe17 dagar sedan

    Yeah its an mp3 we know this man

  • Nicolas Martin
    Nicolas Martin18 dagar sedan

    I spent far too much time and money on this bridge format. It's well forgotten. I think Sharp made superior devices. When I switched to CDs for recording music, about 90 percent of the discs, then expensive, went in the trash due largely to crap software. I never saw a DCC recording unit or pre--recorded product in a store.

  • ImDino
    ImDino18 dagar sedan

    Man I miss MD, I had several units throughout the years

  • Rambo431
    Rambo43118 dagar sedan

    Can I put it in my psp?

  • A Todaso
    A Todaso18 dagar sedan

    I remember when my friend got one in high school, it was pretty cool until the ipod came out.

  • Mark Allen
    Mark Allen18 dagar sedan

    24Bit/96k is what we want today. Where is that format? I would love to see that on a buyable disk. But, I remember Sony buying out the American music, that's when I decided that I would never buy a Sony product again, this is a big part of Sony's failure.

  • masterscott555
    masterscott55519 dagar sedan

    Great video! I got one in the past and I was really happy with it. Sometimes I'm thinking "why don't we use them anymore?". The split second I forgot about streaming and MP3 for a moment.....

  • ixnine
    ixnine19 dagar sedan

    I had the Sony MZ-E40 and damn did I love that thing! I wish I still had it, can’t say for the life of me what happened to it and my discs.

  • Fredrik Mårtensson
    Fredrik Mårtensson19 dagar sedan

    I'm a bit late to the party - Bought my 1st MD-player 5 yo, it´s now 4 portable players (2 of which are recorders), and 100-110 MD's. I really love the format, mostly because of the size, but also the retroside of it all. Yeah and it's also kinda neat that many have never seen one ^^

  • Master_Misanthrope
    Master_Misanthrope19 dagar sedan

    We've lost something in the last 20 years... technology used to have soul... now everything is a souless, attention sucking, plain slab with a screen... I hate 2021, can we go back?

  • BIGWillie Wilson
    BIGWillie Wilson19 dagar sedan

    The best digital format ever....I used to have a collection of about 14 Sony portable MD Players...I'm still using a Sony MZ-E32 as my walkman when most are using their mobile phones...

  • Alister Voltaire
    Alister Voltaire19 dagar sedan

    If Sony had let the computer be used to it's maximum extent they could have turned the minidisc into the same standard as the floppy disc but they didn't. It was great in the car, as you didn't need to worry about the discs getting damaged.

  • Blue Azure
    Blue Azure19 dagar sedan

    When I was a kid, I thought that I could play psp games on my gamecube by removing the plastic case :'l

  • RomanceR • 19 years •
    RomanceR • 19 years •19 dagar sedan

    i had a Sony portable mini-disc recorder back then. My dad got it from his credit card points, he said it cost 1000 points equivalent to $1000 and it couldn't be bought anywhere in America. There was also an equipment distribution and retailing problem with mini-disc. At the time the big electronics retailers like circuit city and radioshack didn't even stock equipment or blank media until a year after since my dad gifted me the recorder and player I was 15 y/o back then all my friends were impressed and asked its price and where they could get one. Mini-disc failed in America in awarness, price and distribution.

  • lois gages
    lois gages19 dagar sedan

    fuck sake this was boring... still watched it tho

  • This Does Not Compute

    This Does Not Compute

    19 dagar sedan

    yeah I probably should have thrown a few random explosions in there just to spice it up

  • Johan Bunde Kondrup
    Johan Bunde Kondrup19 dagar sedan

    Early 90's? Wasnt it more like early-mid 00's

  • MattIsLoling
    MattIsLoling19 dagar sedan

    gamecube was on that gangster shit

  • Trevor Madsen
    Trevor Madsen19 dagar sedan

    I am happy that MD couldn`t be dominant at the time in US and Europe instead CD. Rewritable medium could be dangerous for music market, and CD was not.

  • Styreta X
    Styreta X19 dagar sedan

    My dad is a gadget freak and had this in his car. I loved playing with the little cassettes while driving. Growing up I dont think ive ever heard of anyone else using the format though, such a shame.

  • misterclownface
    misterclownface20 dagar sedan

    Wow, i didn't know MiniDisc's lasted through 2011-2013. I thought it died around early 2000s.

  • HalfBreedMix
    HalfBreedMix20 dagar sedan

    14:20 " Type-R ", so we all know this unit could play faster :-)

  • Curry Chips
    Curry Chips20 dagar sedan

    Still better than CDs.

  • Andy
    Andy20 dagar sedan

    One of the kids in my Scout troop had a MD player in the 90s, when most of us still had tape players. When we saw what it could do (sound quality, song skipping, small size, etc), we all wanted it! While MD might not have become the dominant format, it definitely helped to set expectations for what the next generation of music players had to be.

  • Carlos G
    Carlos G20 dagar sedan

    Was the Sony psp UMD an offshoot of this?

  • Baptiste
    Baptiste20 dagar sedan

    Back then, I was SO angry on the iPod for shading the capacities of MD: the quality was bad, and it was absolutely impossible to record anything on the go like it was possible with the MD. I could ABSOLUTELY NOT understand why people would prefer the iPod…

  • Marc Browne
    Marc Browne20 dagar sedan

    I always wanted a Minidisc player. The rich kids at my school all had them. I think their flaw was not embracing the storage potential earlier on. I remember thinking how much better they were than floppy disks in the early 90s, but Sony failed to make them the go-to replacement, then Zip came along and stole their chance. Also, they could hold a lot of music in MP3 format, they should have supported that format much earlier on.

  • Richard Fear
    Richard Fear20 dagar sedan

    I still have my MD recorder component and a 6 disc MD changer for car audio, though it's not hooked up. Loved the format, shame it never went anywhere.

  • David Gann
    David Gann20 dagar sedan

    I loved fact that you could get 40 hours of listening off of one AA battery!!! It was great for me in the military. I even jumped it a couple of times. Loved the format, hated the Sony software that it used.

  • Rob Higham
    Rob Higham20 dagar sedan

    A minidisc player is still part of my audio setup

  • Thomas Madman
    Thomas Madman20 dagar sedan

    Around 20:00 minutes in, this guy waffles so much

  • str1xt


    20 dagar sedan

    No, you have zero patience. Probably a gen x or whatever you snowflakes are called.

  • Dr Rhomboid Goatcabin
    Dr Rhomboid Goatcabin20 dagar sedan

    Loved my mini disc players. Being able to make a big mix “tape” on a skip free small (for the time) device was just awesome.

  • John Thornhill
    John Thornhill21 dag sedan

    I owned 4 different minidisc players and something like 500 disks. I loved these little things and miss them now.

  • frank doster
    frank doster21 dag sedan

    My sony md player was great. Loved the format

  • The Wandering Albatross
    The Wandering Albatross21 dag sedan

    I had a MD player back in 96, 97. Never heard of DCC. I remember having a limited selection of new albums being sold at Best Buy on MD.

  • Leo carvalho
    Leo carvalho21 dag sedan

    I honestly expected nothing then I saw my dude put in a hitomitoi cd and I was just not expecting it

  • MC Save
    MC Save21 dag sedan

    Blu-ray або HD DVD?!?

  • Giovanni van Haaren
    Giovanni van Haaren21 dag sedan

    This is awesome. If you own disc's that don't work anymore; bypass the sensor that stops the minidiscplayer when opening the disc compartment. Take of the metal plate of a working minidisc with 74min of sound on it. Put it in, let it read the index of the disc and than quickly change it for the broken minidisc. Voila, enjoy lost music.

  • simon harrison
    simon harrison21 dag sedan

    Man, I had about 200 MD's. All laboriously named using the remote on my Sony recorder. Nearly broke my heart when I eventually emptied them into the a skip at the local dump.

  • Kevin Olson
    Kevin Olson21 dag sedan

    I had a minidisc recorder and portable player. Ultimately I gave up on it. Great video!

  • Patrick Bailey
    Patrick Bailey21 dag sedan

    Omg, had a Sony auto reverse walkman, then an anti-shock CD walkman and fell in love with the MD walkman and later on the NetMD walkman... But the ipod vídeo was a no brainer.

  • Fabio Zuluaga
    Fabio Zuluaga21 dag sedan

    This is so nostalgic

  • Tim Monta
    Tim Monta21 dag sedan

    I had mini disk and was very nice. Never ever heard about the dcc.

  • RetroLux
    RetroLux21 dag sedan

    I installed a Sony minidisc deck in my 1988 Toyota Hilux Surf (aka 4Runner) in 1998. I still have both the vehicle and the MD player however a few weeks ago my MD deck stopped powering on. I love it so much that I found the exact same MD model with a different fault on eBay and it's currently being shipped from Germany all the way to me in New Zealand. When it gets here I'll hopefully make one fully operating deck out of the two. My local car stereo business think I'm mad, but after more than 20 years, any other stereo in my truck would just be wrong.

  • Paul Barker
    Paul Barker21 dag sedan

    I loved my mini disc player

  • John Brown
    John Brown21 dag sedan

    If they made it a 24bit audio player I think would taken off better

  • Valcor
    Valcor22 dagar sedan

    32:10 poor Sony just when it was finally looking good in comes the ipod 😂😂 Makes sense why I never hear of MD devices

  • Valcor
    Valcor22 dagar sedan

    30:00 literally my childhood downloading songs from limewire

  • Valcor
    Valcor22 dagar sedan

    11:35 I mean the labels had a point 😂😂 Everyone had a cd burner music basically became free

  • Youtube Emperor of Mankind
    Youtube Emperor of Mankind22 dagar sedan

    I loved the MD. My old player was stolen by a drug addict.. for years I always thought of my awesome MD player that I loved so much because of its awesome quality.. even the MP3 players simply werent as awesome. And 2 months ago I got a used MD player (Sony (Walkman(but its a MD player))MODEL: MZ-R500) that uses only 1 normal AA battery (rare, they usually use those weird flat square rechargeable batteries). The quality is amazeballs. Even better than I remember. But the best part by far is that I only had to pay 40€ and 3 discs included. AMAZING. So happy!

  • Tavpanda
    Tavpanda22 dagar sedan

    Had one of these in middle school before the zune came out lol and then apple took over

  • Ten0chtl1
    Ten0chtl122 dagar sedan

    Concerned for copyright infringement Napster: Hold my beer.

  • Shane


    3 dagar sedan

    Metallica has entered the chat...