In the original specification
of the compact disc
format (commonly known as the Red Book
), the maximum play time of a CD is defined at 74 minutes
. For CD-ROMs, this works out to be approximately 650 megabytes. This particular time was chosen, apparently, because it is just enough time to fit Beethoven
's Ninth Symphony
However, it seems that some CD fabricators have found a way to get past this limit. There are a few known CD's that go past this. The ones I know about are: Peter Gabriel's Shaking the Tree comes in at 74:50, Dream Theater's last two albums: Falling into Infinity comes in at 78 minutes, and Scenes from a Memory comes in at 78 minutes 17 seconds. This is annoying for people trying to copy the CD's onto other media. However, there are now, for example, 80-minute minidiscs available.