Evolution  of  Music  Machines

By Priyanka Mehta

October 01, 2022

Phonautograph, 1857

Leon Scott de Martinville’s phonautograph could record, not reproduce sounds. The phonautograph's original design eventually led to the gramophone.

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Phonograph, 1877

Thomas Edison’s phonograph made music recording possible. The device recorded sound, including human voices.

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Gramophone, 1887

Emile Berliner’s gramophone is the first device to play a disk of recorded music, making recorded music accessible.

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78 RPM Standard, 1925

Flat disc records between 1898 and the late 1950s were played at approximately 78 revolutions a minute, setting the industry standard.

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Transistor Radio, 1954

Regency TR-1, the first transistor radio, allowed people to take their music on the go. This handheld, portable music device worked with AM broadcasts.

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Portable Stereo, 1962

Henry Kloss’s first portable stereo, KLH Model 11, integrated speakers into a record player, allowing people to take their record player with them, moving it wherever they went.

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Audio Cassette, 1963

Music was found in a smaller and more portable format than ever before, inspiring the first mix tapes. Phillips consolidated the reel-to-reel into the first compact cassette tape, making music more fluid and creating mixtapes.

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8-Track Tape, 1965

For the first time, music was getting into cars with the 8-Track tape, long before audio cassette players were integrated into car stereos. Ford offered this innovation to be installed in their 1966 models.

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Walkman, 1979

The first personal music player, Walkman, was released by Sony. The Walkman combined a pair of headphones and an audio cassette player.

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Compact Disc, 1983

Compact Disc offered higher quality recording, increasing durability compared to audio cassettes. By 1984, portable CD players were available for the public.

MP3 Player, 1998

MP3 player eliminated the need for other media to hold music. The collaboration between Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and German audio engineer Karlheinz Bradenburg with the Internet allowed for a host and standard to be developed. The .MP3 extension was created, making MP3 players very popular.

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iPod, 2001

Apple released its first iPod, taking over the MP3 player market in 2001. The iPod made digital music accessible and famous. Apple's iPod provided 5GB or 10 GB of songs, albums and playlists. It allowed music to be scrolled through using a mechanical scroll wheel.

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Music Streaming, 2005

Since the release of YouTube in 2005, music streaming apps or websites have emerged, providing access to music for all. Music stream allows people to listen to independent, underground musicians using your smartphone, anytime and anywhere.

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iPod Touch, 2007

Apple iPod Touch performed as a music player, offering access to the Apple App Store, games and connected features.

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