When CDs came onto the scene circa 1983, they answered a true calling, delivering noiseless, high-fidelity audio to discerning consumers in a nonlinear format. A CD wouldn’t degrade over time simply by playing it back either, which was untrue of both vinyl and magnetic tape. Listeners went through culture shock when they sat next to a set of speakers and heard nothing—as in true, sonic silence—before the first note of music sounded. Only the terminally geeky and audiophile party-poopers groused about how “digital was sterile” or that better fidelity was actually achievable through analog means, assuming your turntable cost more than the GDP of a small country. For everyone else, CDs, and the era of digital audio democratization they heralded, were a godsend.