The recording industry has proven to be a lucrative business since its invention. The industry has been a straightforward process generating income for many parties involved. From the start of its invention, inventors and artists could record and sell for some income. Another way recording was generating income is that you could go on a tour and make a killer sale on the albums.

However, after a decade, the recording industry has changed. In modern times, businesses are struggling to create wealth in the same way they used to be during the invention of the recording industry. Nowadays, music consumers don’t love spending much money on the music industry, making the recording industry face challenges.

The History of Recording Music

Let’s now delve into the history of recorded music. The first music to be recorded was pop music, which became trendy from the 1840s until the 1880s, after which vaudeville became the center of attention. Both pop music and vaudeville were performed together with theatrical variations. Either comedic skits or dancers accompanied the music through a live show.

It was until 1877 when Thomas Edison produced the first recording device. It was called the phonograph. This invention involved the use of cylinders to record and reproduce sound. After the invention of the phonograph by Edison, many people with great minds, such as Emile Berliner, started giving a try to recording the invention. He came up with the invention of the gramophone disk, which is the current vinyl record.

After that, Columbia Records emerged in 1888 and the first record company to produce pre-recorded records contrary to blank cylinders. This saw radio becoming a subsequent tool in broadcasting recorded music due to advances in technology. This also enabled both recording music and sound to accompany the film to grow.

Post World War I

The recordings kept going up until the disruption by the First World War which saw record sales dropping. But the sales didn’t drop for long because, after World War, the sales again started going up. Apart from large international companies, smaller local entities also saw the need to get into the recording business. This made many small local companies take a shot on the record business.

Recording technology looked a bit expensive, making many small countries lack their local industry. Such countries relied heavily on the recordings produced by foreign companies. Again, the sales of records dropped during the 1930s when the entire world grappled with economic depression. Also, the introduction of sound film and radio broadcasting pushed record business out of the market.

This economic depression and the introduction of sound film and radio broadcasting made many recording companies go bankrupt and also lost some of the information on their activities. The drop in sales didn’t last for long, as the sales increased.

The World War II

Then World War II erupted, leading to a significant drop in sales. The war went on, stopping the sales until the 1950s after the war was over. Again, with the introduction of microgroove records in the 1950s, the demand for records started going up. This was all thanks to increased and improved living standards. This has led to increased record sales in the past three decades. The introduction of magnetic tape also made it easier for the recording industry, increasing the number of independent recording companies.

Approaching 1960, the recording industry got a boost from introducing pre-recorded cassettes, cartridges, and cheap cassette players. Cassette players made the sound recording reach a wider audience because of its popularity. However, cassette duplication has become a problem, especially in countries with poor copyright legislation due to a lack of modern technology. This is because cassettes are very simple to create.


Although there are many recording companies across the world, you cannot rule out the international record industry, reflecting the historical development of the recording business. The recording industry pioneers are still the international corporations and not the small companies that are still developing and learning the recording industry.

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I am an avid Mac-user, nerd, musician, freelancer, and gamer. Ask me about my collection of M:TG cards! I've also got a horrible habit of needing the absolute newest technological wonder, whether it's stable or not. If they made a home-version of the LHC, I'd have 2. Additionally, I've been playing music for the better part of 14 years. I'm self-taught on piano, guitar, trumpet, trombone, sax, clarinet, bass, drums and other percussion, and around 10 other instruments. I also spend quite a bit of time dabbling in synthesizers, sequencers, and samplers. I'm also founder of Quotelicious where I collect and share the quotes I love.


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