What are Target CDs?

Target CDs are CD-pressings made in West Germany or Japan (or in some cases in France or the USA) from the early 1980s when the compact disc was first invented until the beginning of the 1990s. They were mainly albums from artists that were on Warner Bros. Records or their associated labels.

They are called Target CDs for their unique painted label side surface that resembled a targeting reticule with the markings at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o'clock respectively and with 4 to 8 squares placed horizontally in the middle of the disc.

Made in West Germany

Made in Japan

Fabriqué par M.P.O. France

Made in USA by PDO

Many collectors and music 'purists' prefer these original pressings for their 'flat' transfers of the original masters of the recording and not the re-mastered CDs of the last 15-20 years that have been part of the 'loudness wars' which adversely affects the dynamic range of the original recording by making it 'louder'.

Although most Target CDs were released in the first half of the 1980s, there exist a number of CDs by important French artists such as France Gall, Françoise Hardy, Michel Berger and Michel Polnareff or international artists such as Chicago, Phil Collins, Al Jarreau and Prince whose albums were released on the WEA label until the beginning of the 1990s. Most of releases are pressed in Germany but some titles are known to be manufactured in Korea. Because these CDs bear the design that is typical of Target CDs, they are also included in this collection. 

Made in Germany - plastic center

Made in Germany - silver center

Made in Korea - plastic center

Besides full Target CDs there also exist a lot of so-called half Target CDs and even 1/4 or 3/4 Targets. Most of these half targets only have the squares in the middle of the CD, but a few CDs are also known with squares placed at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o'clock while lacking the horizontal squares. Half Target CDs are not included in this collection. 

Half Target with 4 squares placed horizontally

Half Target with 4 squares at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o' clock

1/4 Target with only 2 squares at 3 o' clock

3/4 Target with 2 squares missing at 9 o' clock

And finally there are the so-called Pre-targets. These are very early Japanese pressings manufactured in 1982 or 1983 by Sanyo that were re-released as a full target a few years later. The interesting thing is that the spaces to print the target squares at 12 and 6 o'clock were already present in these early pressings.

Pre-Target Made in Japan by Sanyo