Research help: first possible date for different medium formats


We recently added some code to block using a format on a medium if the release date is older than the year that format was first used. This is pretty useful IMO (disclaimer: there’s a small bug blocking editing of existing incorrect ones unless the format is fixed that I just sent a patch for review for, sorry about that) but it depends on us having the right dates for each format. There’s plenty of formats where we’re missing the date, so we will not be able to block incorrect data. I’ve researched a bit and added most of the easier ones, but I’d love some help in finding out dates for the following formats still missing one:

8cm CD+G
Data CD
Enhanced CD
Blu-ray-R (recordable)
Music Card

Digital Media (is it 1997 as per Billboard? Probably not, I bet people were releasing music in an amateur capacity on the proto-internet even - but can we find a hard limit?)

Phonograph record (as in, the earliest ever phonograph record - same as shellac?)

Shellac subtypes (shellac itself has 1895 but some of these might have been introduced later):
7" Shellac
10" Shellac
12" Shellac

Vinyl subtypes (vinyl itself has 1940 but I know some of these were introduced later):
7" Vinyl
10" Vinyl
12" Vinyl


The publication of relevant standards should give at least some hint about this. The yellow book that defined the CD-ROM format was first published in 1988 so that would be a good minimum date for any kind of mass production of such media (although of course there would have been prototypes).

Likewise the blue book defining the CD-EXTRA / CD+ / Enhanced CD format was published in 1995. However in this case the concepts are older, as multisession discs are part of the orange book published in 1990 so if anyone independently came up with the concept such discs could have potentially been usefully made in the early 1990s.


We had demoscene music disks before that in the 80s).
Sure we had them first through floppy disc (or even cassette apparently there is at least one of them) swap (exchanges), which is physical medium, not digital medium.

But with the various demoscene oriented BBS, for those who had modems and could pay the communication costs, we were then exchanging them as disc images or arj/lzh/zip/etc. archive files.
Which is digital medium, then, late 80s /early 90s.

I think I had access to BBS around 94 or slightly before. And (archive files) releases were mostly all nicely packaged with a FILE_ID.DIZ that I would compare to a front cover.


I don’t think it’s possible to find a definitive date for the older formats because many of them had experimental pressings long before their final form started to get mass produced. For example the date for Flexi-disc in MB needs to be updated. It states that the format was created in 1962, but in reality it already existed back in the 1920’s (in a more experimental form, with different plastics, etc).

Some useful information is available in Wiki article on timeline of audio formats, in particular introduction of various shellac subtypes.


2007 for SHM-CD according to this site ^^


Probably around 1995 for EnhancedCD (RIAA made it a certification in march 1996 but the format existed since the blue book standard.)


Do you have some examples? We can certainly move it back :slight_smile: I see that the timeline posted above gives “1930: Filmophone flexible record” - of course, it’s arguable that Flexi-disc is specifically flexible vinyl and older analogs from other materials should be their own format?

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There are a few releases from the 1930’s in MB, but Discogs’ list gives a good overview of roughly how many releases that came out before 1962.

The question is how do you want to define the MB format “Flexi-disc”? Is it supposed to be a catch-all format or something more specific? It makes sense to give the very early flexible mediums their own MB format(s). “Filmophone flexible record“ is one company’s attempt to create a flexible record back in the 1930’s, but others tried before and after them. The 1962 date is according to Wikipedia when the US version “Eva-tone Soundsheet” was released.


Small update. A couple years for niche formats were added, existing ones changed (DVD-Video, SHM-CD).

Notably still missing are:

  • Data CD
  • 8cm CD+G
  • 7" Vinyl
  • 10" Vinyl
  • 12" Vinyl
  • 7" Flexi-disc
  • Digital Media
  • DVD
  • Hybrid SACD
  • Blu-ray-R
  • 7" Shellac
  • 10" Shellac
  • 12" Shellac
  • SD card
  • 8" LaserDisc
  • 12" LaserDisc
  • Music Card

Whereas following have no exact year yet:

  • Reel-to-reel
  • VHS

See also