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Historical Developments in Music Storage Technology

Autor:   •  September 23, 2014  •  Essay  •  1,704 Words (7 Pages)  •  906 Views

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Historical developments in music storage technology

To contextualise the impact of social networking sites on the distribution and consumption of popular music, one must look back on the historical developments in music storage technology. The logical place to start is the invention of the first known sound recorder, the phonograph. The phonograph was invented in 1877 by Thomas Edison and while it was not the first device that could record sound it was the first that could play back the sound it recorded. It wasn’t long until various improvements in the technology led to music being recorded and made available to the public.

It was some time before a phonograph, or its next descendant the “gramophone” were commonplace in the average citizen’s home. People started off by going to “phonograph parlours” to pay to listen to music. In the 1890’s most towns would have one of these “phonograph parlours”. It made music and the listening and choosing of recorded songs a social event, with much discussion over song choices and what people listened to. These “phonograph parlours” didn’t last all that long as other places started having coin operated “jukeboxes”.

In the late 1920’s phonographs became available for purchase by the public for the first time. They were very much an exclusive, luxury item when they first came out. It wasn’t until after the Second World War that “record players” (essentially the same as a phonograph but using a vinyl disc) were commonplace in average citizens homes. This is thanks to dramatic improvements in technology such as high fidelity or “hi-fi”, and “stereophonic” based systems, improving the quality and mass production reducing prices. The fact that most households had a “record player” changed the way the western world listened to music. Now everyone could go down to the record store and buy whatever they wanted to listen to. Families and friends would be able to listen to their own favourite music when they wanted without having to wait in line and listen to other people’s music, like they would with a jukebox.

Cassettes and CDs went by without too much change to the way people listened to music, other than being able to listen to music in the car. It was with the “Walkman” that a real change occurred. “The Walkman freed music listening from the confines of the home and the car. At present, the portability of all recorded music is a key expectation of a new generation of music fans.” (Alhadeff 2014) The Walkman brought out the idea that was the precursor to mp3s. The Walkman was marketed as a personal listening device with which one could walk around listening to their own CDs through headphones. This was the humble beginning of mp3 storage devices. The mp3 storage devices for example iPods, completely revolutionised the way people listen to music once again. Now all of


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