90s, Blog, Tech — November 11, 2013 12:08 pm

Internet Time Travel: cdnow.com

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It’s not hard nowadays to look up information on just about any subject you desire.  Let’s say a friend recommended a song to you.  Where would you go to find information on it?  Google?  YouTube?  Amazon?  Wikipedia?  You have your choices.

In the late 90s, you pretty much got your music information from one of the only websites that sold CDs: cdnow.com


I don’t think their logo was 90s-web enough.

If you wanted anything more obscure than your local K-Mart or overpriced mall store carried, you finally had a place on the world wide web to search for music to your heart’s desire.  If I recall correctly, CDNow also offered a small assortment of music-related laserdiscs at one point.


A brief glimpse of 1997.

As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one who used this site primarily as a database for finding more information on albums available by an artist.  As the dot com boom struggled, CDNow started running in to financial troubles.  Even a re-design (back before everyone did that every week) didn’t help boost sales.


While the new design certainly added some color schemes and columns, it was no match for people who were still too paranoid about making online purchases.  If you’re wondering why the above draft looks familiar, it’s because it is…


In the early 2000s, Amazon was starting to take off and acquired CDNow in the process.  It was interesting that at the time they marketed as an extended brand, particularly when CDs are now sold under the main site.

Did you ever purchase anything from CDNow or was it just a virtual database for you?

1 Comment

  • Totally forgot about this site until you posted. I used to go on it quite a bit, but fell out of favor when a pretty big cd store opened up in the neighboring town. They had a lot of obscure (and bootleg) cd’s.  Great find. PS – I don’t miss when sites looked like that. Ugh.

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