Ever since sound was first captured on in the late 1800s, music lovers have reveled in hearing their favorite music via recordings. Since then, recording technology has evolved significantly. Lightning speed technological advances continue to propel the evolution of the music and recording industries.
From those first scratchy recordings, a lively industry quickly grew, as vinyl records were sold and then played in homes everywhere on primitive and then more sophisticated record players.
At the same time that vinyl recording evolved, the tape also developed as a popular recording medium. By the 1940s, “taping” technology was used with ever-greater sophistication. By the mid-1960s, the Beatles were using a 4-track recording system to create their most notable albums, as the technology provided sound engineers with an ever-greater ability to overdub sound and create recordings of incredible artistry.
By the 1970s and 1980s, music had become a multi-million dollar industry, with top recording artists garnering hugely lucrative contracts for new album releases. Yet technology continued to evolve. Digital recording brought a new revolution, as compact discs replaced vinyl and tape in the 1980s as the new industry commercial standard (though many audiophiles still prefer vinyl for optimal sound).
The success of compact discs changed the music industry again, but the change wasn’t over. Just as the cd market was maturing, along came a new format: MP3. The first MP3 players allowed listeners to store and listen to digital music files in a compact format. The first players were expensive and clunky, holding only 16MB of sound information. Still, they were a popular success. The Apple Company embraced the new technology and released the first Ipod MP3 player in 2001. Apple’s version of the MP3 player coincided with the development of Apple’s ITunes, the digital downloading “music store” which is now also accessible from Windows operating system. The IPod is now considered the industry standard and the current IPod Classic holds up to 40,000 songs. A revolution, indeed.