Timeline of Audio Formats
Have you ever thought of how amazing it is that you can listen to any kind of music we like, whenever we want, wherever we want? All you have to do is press the play button on your mp3 player or ipod or phone. And voila! You can listen to the music play on your earphones or speakers.
Music wasn’t always so easily accessible though. Ever heard of vinyl records? What about cassette tapes? Do any of these terms ring a bell?
Let’s take a musical trip down memory lane shall we?
- The first commercial medium for recording and reproducing sound was the phonograph. Although it used cylinders to record and play music, it was only good for one-time playback and the sound quality was terrible.
- 10 years later, the gramophone came into picture, thanks to one Emile Berliner. The gramophone used discs instead of cylinders. It too, underwent a series of changes spanning 60 years.
- It wasn’t until Peter Carl Goldmark invented LP vinyl records in 1948 that “albums” came into picture. This was a major milestone and Goldmark’s LP conquered the market for more than forty years.
- In 1962, studios began recording using multi-track analog tapes, following the experiments of inventor and guitarist Les Paul.
- Soon, in 1963, Philips introduced the cassette tape, which became the most popular medium for music for several years. In the 70s, you could record your own tapes. And with the invention of portable cassette players, it seemed that cassettes were here to stay.
Compact Discs (CDs)
- In 1982, Japan introduced CD, invented by American inventor James Russell. The first CD to be released was Billy Joel’s “52nd Street”. Within 3 years, CDs took over LP records as the medium of choice. It wasn’t until 1999 that recordable CDs became available.
- The MP3 players of today exist because of the digital audio player prototype designed by Kane Kramer way back in 1979.
- Companies like AT&T and SaeHan/Eiger came up with their own versions like Flash Players and MPMans around 1998.
- Apple took the world by storm, however, with its iPod in 2001. Today, MP3 players and iPods are commonplace, affordable options to store and play music.
- It’s interesting to note that cellphones with the ability to store and playback music also cropped up around the same time as MP3 players. The first mobile phone with this ability was the Samsung SPH-M2100, also called the Samsung UpRoar. And there’s been no looking back ever since. We wonder what’s next in the musical market.
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