The history of Philips Digital Compact Cassette 1992 - 1996

1990
08/10/1990

Philips announce Digital Compact Cassette (DCC)

Philips announce Digital Compact Cassette (DCC)
After six months of rumours on Oct 8. 1990 Philips formally annouced the production of a digital compact cassette. In the weeks after the annoucement four record companies – Polygram (owned by Philips for 80%), BMG, Capitol/EMI and Time/Warner records group announced their support for the format. Around september 1991 Sony joined this group, aswell as MCA.  That meant all of the six major label groups were in favour of the DCC. Later it turned out this ‘support’ was merely for show, as only some companies released prerecorded DCC’s. From the introduction of DDC on people talked about DCC ‘software’, meaning DCC with prerecorded music.
1991
10/01/1991

First public appearance DCC prototype

Philips demonstrated its Digital Compact Cassette system at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show that was held from 10-13 january in Las Vegas Convention Center and various hotels. The presentation was the first public showing of and technical briefing on the technology. Short after there were several demonstrations throughout the world. Magazine Billboard reports in april 1991 of a Philips/Polygram demo-presentation on April 16th. UK labels executives and selectet retailers were present. Philips / Polygram did a prediction: Sales of cds worldwide will peak between 1991 and 1995, the analog  cassette will disappear by the year 2007 or thereabouts, and DCC software will exceed cd unit sales around 2005 / 2006. Philips DCC project manager Gerry Wirtz told Billboard at the end of 1991 that Philips predicted worldwide DCC sales of 400 million-plus by the year 2000 and a doubling of that total by 2005.
22/06/1991

Dire Straits wants DCC

Dire Straits wants DCC
To promote the DCC Philips made deals with several international artists. First of them was Dire Straits. Dire Straits endosed the DCC because of its digital sound and its ability to play and record digital and existing analog cassettes. Dire Straits has long had a reputation for technically superior recordings. “Brothers in Arms” won the 1985 Grammy for best-engineered nonclassical album. In June 1991 Philips Audio struck a deal with the band for sponsorship of a 300-date world tour that will herald the launch of the DCC hardware. The second U.S. leg of the On Every Street tour starting late august 1992 would see DCC promotion. Besides Dire Straits also U2 played a part in a massive DCC production. Bobby Brown generated free press as being the first artist who’s DCC 'Bobby' was played on American radio.
05/07/1991

Matsushita joins Philips

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. announced support of Philips’ Digital Compact Cassette format in Tokyo on July 5 and plans to market DCC in Japan. The company had been co-developing DCC with Philips for the last two years. Rumours where there before during the Winter Consumer Electronics show (Billboard 1991.01.26) and revealed in May at a DCC demonstration in Nice, France. The Osaka-based firm (Panasonic being one of its brands) operated a powerful nationwide network of 25.0000 dealers and has shown its DCC commitment by planning major investment in a DCC tape-head manufacturing facility in Japan, as well as pledging support to licensees (Billboard 91.11.09). On a press conference held March 16th 1992 to annouce the new Mini Disc, Sony Software Corp. President Michael Schulhof stated for the first time that Sony Music will also support Philips’ Digital Compact Cassette. “As soon as DCC hardware is introduced, we’ll have software in the marketplace,” he said.
16/07/1991

Philips builds factory in Amersfoort for DCC-production

Polygram started building a new factory in March 1991 for the production of both analog and digital compact cassettes. The plant in Amersfoort, The Netherlands could produce 30 million pieces a year. Polygram predicted that it would make between 5 million and 6 million DCC tapes in 1992. The factory complex had 3000 square meter of floor space and costed 6,6 million dollars. At this time in history other recordcompanies made up there minds about production of DCC prerecorded DCC’s. Capitol-EMI was considering a pilot factory that would manufacture 1.3 million DCC cassettes annually and could go online in Juni 1992 [..] according to Ralph Cousino, vicepresident of development and technology in Billboard 1991.06.08. In the same issue WEA Manufacturing says they are still looking for more information on the format and that it is too early to comment on manufacturing plans. A&M (owned by Polygram) had not yet decided on titles. Two other important aspect play a role here. For analog cassettes the Digalog process was just invented which took audiocassette’s to a new level. Around this time Sony came with info about it’s ‘Mini Disc’.   Various sources, including Philips and Polygram mentioned that 500 prerecorded DCC’s would be available at the release of the first hardware. At the DCC Museum we are still searching for a list of titles that confirms this. A total list of all prerecorded DCC’s is still one of the secrets about DCC.
16/07/1991

Philips builds factory in Amersfoort (The Netherlands) for DCC-production

Polygram started building a new factory in March 1991 for the production of both analog and digital compact cassettes. The plant in Amersfoort, The Netherlands could produce 30 million pieces a year. Polygram predicted that it would make between 5 million and 6 million DCC tapes in 1992. The factory complex had 3000 square meter of floor space and costed 6,6 million dollars. At this time in history other recordcompanies made up there minds about production of DCC prerecorded DCC’s. Capitol-EMI was considering a pilot factory that would manufacture 1.3 million DCC cassettes annually and could go online in Juni 1992 [..] according to Ralph Cousino, vicepresident of development and technology in Billboard 1991.06.08. In the same issue WEA Manufacturing says they are still looking for more information on the format and that it is too early to comment on manufacturing plans. A&M (owned by Polygram) had not yet decided on titles. Two other important aspect play a role here. For analog cassettes the Digalog process was just invented which took audiocassette’s to a new level. Around this time Sony came with info about it’s ‘Mini Disc’. Various sources, including Philips and Polygram mentioned that 500 prerecorded DCC’s would be available at the release of the first hardware. At the DCC Museum we are still searching for a list of titles that confirms this. A total list of all prerecorded DCC’s is still one of the secrets about DCC.
31/08/1991

Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin 1991

Wim Wielans, managing director of Philips Audio annouced at the 38th Berlin Consumer Electronics Show that Yamaha, Sharp, Tandy and Sanyo have entered into agreements with Philips for DCC Licenses. Grundig, B&O and Blaupunkt already signed up (Billboard 1991.09.14). Rich Warran of the Chicago Tribube wrote a great story on the IFA Berlin. Maximilian Schönherr, German journalist recorded part of the press conference.
1992
09/01/1992

DCC 900 alive at Las Vegas Winter show

Philips showed its consumer unit – the DCC900 – at Las Vegas Winter Consumer Electronics Show (9-12 january 1992), a year after its first announcement. It is the first time a unit is shown that actually will be sold. Philips DCC900 will be part of the 900 Series line of components from the company with an emphasis on digital technology. At a Jan. 8 press conference Philips announced its plan for a mass DCC launch in September at a list price of 700 dollar. Philips, Marantz, Tandy, Panasonic/Technics, BASF, Memtek and TDK were among those hardware and tape manufacturers displaying or demonstrating DCC. The Philips DCC marketing plans are about six months behind the original launch date of April 1992, and the 700 dollar price point is about 100 dollar higher than was first discussed (Billboard 1992-01-25). Around this time Philips Consumer Electronics has entered into a licensing agreement with Alpine Electronics Inc. that will provide the car-stereo company with the technology to manufacture digital compact cassette players for automobiles. The first car radios with integrated DCC players are slated for introduction in 1993 (Billboard 1992-1-11).
14/05/1992

BASF shows first DCC tape

BASF was one of the first companies that showed interest in supplying the standard chrome videotape used in the digital cassettes. The DCC system also got early support from tape duplication companies Sonopress and Cinram (Billboard 1991.09.14). Later on support came from Lenco, Memtek and Sunkyong (Billboard 1992.05.30). Cinram signed up for producing the cassetteboxes and D-0 shells. On the Las Vegas CES in January 1992 first prerecorded DCC were shown. Among them including material from artists like Bobby Brown, Tom Petty and U2. Philips has always said they have 500 prerecorded DCC’s ready when the hardware is introduced. In May 1992 record companies released the names of the first 150 artists whose material will be issued on DCC. Among them are Bon Jovi, Boys II Men, Eric Clapton, Chick Corea, Dire Straits, Heavy D. & the Boyz, Madonna, John Mellencamp, Nirvana, Bonnie Raitt, R.E.M. and Paul Simon. Koch International signed an agreement with Philips to produce 1 million Digital audiocassettes per year from August 1 1992 on, at its facility in Elbigenalp, Austria. Koch said that by the launch of DCC in September, the company will be offering 30 titles in the format, covering classical, pop and folk (Billboard 1992-07-11).
21/09/1992

DCC arrives at market (finally)

The marketintroduction of DCC was far from smooth. Philips Consumer Electronics had to reschedule the introductiondate twice. Early pressreports talked about the first units would be on the market in April 1992. One of the most important DCC licensees - in fact the first - is Tandy, which owns the Radio Shack and Incredible Universe electronics chains. Tandy became the first manufacturer to offer it’s digital compact cassette hardware in the US on September 17 1992 when it opened its new Incredible Universe store in a suburb of Portland. The Tandy introduction came the same day Philips revealed its plans to bring his DCC hardware and software to the US in November 1992. Sale began November 2nd at 500 consumer electronics retailers and department stores in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston. Philips launched the first digital compact cassette – the DCC900 - first in Japan, on 19th September 1992. Matsushita’s RS-DC10 home playback/record unit became available from Sept. 21 1992 in Japan at a price of 135,000 yen (1.017 dollar). It was October before the first digital compact cassette – the DCC900- hit the European shelves. The decks were marketed with a DCC sampler of Polygram artists and a blank 90-minute cassette.

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