Records: a musical timeline


With vinyl records making a powerful comeback, we take the time to follow the journey of this media format, now seemingly reborn for younger generations. From Edison and RCA, right through to recently released figures, a musical timeline.


1877 – Thomas Edison creates first phonograph to record and play sound.

1881 – Charles Tainter makes first lateral-cut records.

1888 – Emile Berliner invents gramophone to play 7- inch discs.

1906 – The Victor Talking Machine Company introduces ‘Victrola’,an upright playing machine.

1921 – Popularity of radio causes a dip in record sales.

1921 – Independent record companies can now make their own lateral cut records.

1930 – Bing Crosby releases ‘I Remember Dear’.

1939 – Magnetic tape to record sound is invented.

1940 – Vinyl is now used to make records, not shellac.

1951 – The first jukebox playing 7-inch 45 rpm records.

1963 – The first compact audio cassette.

1975 – The scratch is invented.

1980s– 12- inch disco records contribute to the rise of House

1982- The first digital CD discs are marketed.

1988 – For the first time, CDs outsell records. CDs and cassettes become dominant musical formats.

2001 – The turntable is formally recognised as an instrument.

It is now 2016 The Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) releases figures showing vinyl sales earned the record industry £2.4m in week 48 of 2016 with downloads only producing £2.1m.

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