What are “Target CDs”?
Target CDs are a class of pressings released by WEA (Warner-Elektra-Atlantic) in the early-to-mid 1980s. Most were manufactured in either West Germany or Japan for distribution in the U.S. before domestic pressing facilities went online. Some were also pressed in the U.S. and France. Target CDs were also distributed in Europe and Japan, as well as other markets. Target CDs derive their name from the design used by WEA, which resembles a gunsight, crosshairs, or a target. These early CDs are often readily identified by the striking colors used on the label side.
Target CDs are collectibles since many of them are the original issues and are, therefore, remnants of the early days of the “Compact Digital Disc”. Aside from the historical significance, many music enthusiasts also feel that these early pressings offer superior fidelity to later remasters. The reason for this is that many Target CDs represent a “flat transfer” of the tapes used. By contrast, many recent remasters have been prepared through excessive processing, including the abuse of compression and noise reduction.
While Target CDs are relatively rare, it is possible to find them at low prices in used music stores. The fact is that few people realize the significance of these CDs. As a result, personnel at most music stores toss them in the used CD bins like any other used CD.
The links in the sidebar to the right comprise lists of Target CDs in my collection. Shown below are pictures of two Target CDs to illustrate the target design. Pictures of particularly rare or unusual Target CDs from my collection are contained in the CD Gallery.
I currently have 554 Target CDs.
Target CD of Phil Collins No Jacket Required, pressed in West Germany (Atlantic, catalog number 7 81240-2)
Target CD of Van Halen Van Halen, pressed in Japan (Warner Bros., catalog number 3075-2)