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 ISnetsrs LGR, Geek Therapy Radio and Computer Clan for video clips.

Due to ISnets 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:


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

  • corey Babcock
    corey Babcock


  • Gloss

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

  • Gaétan Brisson
    Gaétan Brisson

    still have mine (mz-ne410)

  • Steger 13
    Steger 13

    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

    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

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

  • Antun Katona
    Antun Katona

    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 Mendes

    Didn't know about DCC, amazing video.

  • Hari Seldon
    Hari Seldon

    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 Ako

    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 Noir

    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

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

  • con fuzz
    con fuzz

    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

    I loved the simple but useful editing function on MD.

  • Mark Rutter
    Mark Rutter

    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 Quitter

    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 Campen

    Thanks, this gives a die hard md user hope.

  • David Lees
    David Lees

    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 Lees

    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 Lees

    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 Lees

    How remembers the lasor disc from pioneer

  • David Lees
    David Lees

    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


    now no more lol


    still got it still good

  • Quest 321
    Quest 321

    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 Smith

    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 Korsedal

    I loved mini-disc!

  • pastoo25

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

  • Coach Alps
    Coach Alps

    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

    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 Thing


  • VetteD SiN
    VetteD SiN

    i miss my sony md.

  • Fernando Martinez
    Fernando Martinez

    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

    I had an MD car stereo hehe.

  • Delassa

    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 Nicolae

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

  • DezFoto

    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 Sharpe

    Yeah its an mp3 we know this man

  • Nicolas Martin
    Nicolas Martin

    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

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

  • Rambo431

    Can I put it in my psp?

  • A Todaso
    A Todaso

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

  • Mark Allen
    Mark Allen

    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

    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

    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 Mårtensson

    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

    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 Wilson

    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 Voltaire

    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 Azure

    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 •

    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 gages

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

    • This Does Not Compute
      This Does Not Compute

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

  • Johan Bunde Kondrup
    Johan Bunde Kondrup

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

  • MattIsLoling

    gamecube was on that gangster shit

  • Trevor Madsen
    Trevor Madsen

    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 X

    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

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

  • HalfBreedMix

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

  • Curry Chips
    Curry Chips

    Still better than CDs.

  • Andy

    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 G

    Was the Sony psp UMD an offshoot of this?

  • Baptiste

    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 Browne

    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 Fear

    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 Gann

    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 Higham

    A minidisc player is still part of my audio setup

  • Thomas Madman
    Thomas Madman

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

    • str1xt

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

  • Dr Rhomboid Goatcabin
    Dr Rhomboid Goatcabin

    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 Thornhill

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

  • frank doster
    frank doster

    My sony md player was great. Loved the format

  • The Wandering Albatross
    The Wandering Albatross

    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 carvalho

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

  • MC Save
    MC Save

    Blu-ray або HD DVD?!?

  • Giovanni van Haaren
    Giovanni van Haaren

    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 harrison

    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 Olson

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

  • Patrick Bailey
    Patrick Bailey

    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 Zuluaga

    This is so nostalgic

  • Tim Monta
    Tim Monta

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

  • RetroLux

    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 Barker

    I loved my mini disc player

  • John Brown
    John Brown

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

  • Valcor

    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

    30:00 literally my childhood downloading songs from limewire

  • Valcor

    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 Mankind

    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

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

  • Ten0chtl1

    Concerned for copyright infringement Napster: Hold my beer.

  • Jung K
    Jung K

    Wokemans were awesome

  • GobiCanuck

    I loved my mini disc. I backpacked across China for two years with it.

  • g metz
    g metz

    I missed this Walkman

  • Channel customization
    Channel customization

    I dream about Sony MZ-M200!

  • Isma Linkin
    Isma Linkin

    I still use my old solid state Walkman and convert every song to atrac3 plus, the quality is amazing

  • NorMac384 / Cam Magee
    NorMac384 / Cam Magee

    I still have mine!

  • Lubomir Vatchkov
    Lubomir Vatchkov

    Very nice watch! 👍

  • R E
    R E

    I was such a hipster in high school when ipods first came out that me and a few friends got mini discs players instead of ipods 😂

  • Jeff B
    Jeff B

    It really was horrible sounding...

  • Jeff B
    Jeff B

    Never failed to sound like crap

  • Arthur K
    Arthur K

    I loved my minidisc. I used it for a few years in the early 2000s. It was way better at the time than portable cd players. Better shock absorption. Easier to record. Smaller. In fact I would have probably used it even longer if it hadn't developed a glitch in recording, it added jumps in the audio once or twice in every song, and that really disappointed me and made me look elsewhere. If that didn't happen, I would have probably used it for a few more years. The next portable audio player I remember buying was the sandisc sansa clip. That was probably 8 years after I bought the minidisc. So for me - the minidisc held up for 7-8 years. Great product and awesome video!

  • antj29

    I loved minidisc, only changed once iPod came along, I even had a standard fit minidisc head unit in my Mini Cooper s , bmw offered a standard fit head unit