Nowadays, it doesn’t take a lot to listen to music or a radio show. What with the option to listen to digital radio on just about any platform or device you can think of, streaming sites like Spotify and Amazon Music and DABs? The evolution of audio entertainment is a very interesting one and one that took place over a relatively short space of time. About 139 years to be exact.
Audio entertainment, at least in the sense of recordings, all began really with Thomas Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877. The phonograph made recordings of vibrations caused by sound by making etches into a wax cylinder that was rotating at the time. There was a stylus that then made a tracing over the zigzag or spiral shapes left on the cylinder, which allowed the sound to be replayed.
Although this was a big success, sales of recorded music started to have dwindled during the Great Depression and the main audio entertainment came in the form of radio broadcasts.