The History and Evolution of Music As We Know It

The History and Evolution of Music

No matter what type of music it is, it may be from a specific artist or albums or a specific genre or even soundtracks from movies, music is just of the many things we consume on a daily basis. Music is something that is not only for a specific group of people or for a specific age of people. And the history and evolution of music is something that needs a lot of time and effort to study.

Just like everything else, music has evolved over time and the popularity of different genres and artists often changes. Along with these changes, the medium of listening to our favorite music has developed over time as well. With the change in technologies and gadgets now it has been more convenient to listen to music

The Phonograph


The history of music goes way back to 800 BC. However, before the invention of the phonograph in 1877 by Thomas Edison, music listeners could only listen to their favorite songs when someone else was playing them.

But in the year of 1877, Thomas Edison managed to build a device that could both record and play music. Sounds were recorded and transmitted through a recording stylus, which would create indentations on a round phonograph cylinder and a playback stylus could read the recording and play it back through a diaphragm and the iconic horn.

In the 1890s, the tradition of using flat-disc records began. The recording was engraved onto a disc that would be recognizable even today as a record. The main advantage of the disc record was that it could be more easily mass-produced.


Radio technology was available from the early 20th century but it wasn’t until later that music started to hit the airwaves. After the first world war 1XE of Medford, Massachusetts started broadcasting music and in the following years, more music radio stations began to pop up.

Between 1920 and 1930 popularity of radio exploded and that is the reason why the 30s is also known as the golden age of radio. And with the use of radio increasing radio stations started playing music in a large number. Radio stations started hosting live music, music on demand and shows started getting more air time. Radio stations are still one of the main sources of music in many places across the globe.

The Tape

In the year of 1958, RCA changed the future of the consumption of music at home by introducing the RCA tape cartridge. Before this magnetic tape was not an option for home or personal use. This invention took over the music scene after the music companies started using this as the main source of music. This allowed listeners to have a convenient way of listening to the music of their choice. First, there was a normal tape player soon it got developed into a tape player in their car, and soon after there were tape players in hands known as the Walkman.

CD: Compact Disc

In the year 1980, the first commercial compact discs appeared. The use of a laser to read data encoded on the disc was a huge leap forward in audio technology. It was easy to use and it soon became much more convenient for the developers and users. It was easy to reuse and recycle and soon major music companies started to use CDs for their sales of music purpose.
CDs also became an easy tool for independent artists to record samples and even to share their music. Still, CDs are used to sell music.

Digital Audio Formats

Now, the history of music has become digital. Digital music refers to audio formats in MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WAV, etc. These formats are readily available for playback in numerous programs and devices. Music available in these formats can be downloaded via the internet and can be transferred to gadgets that we use. Devices like phones, tablets, PC, and MP3 devices use these formats to play music. With the growth in technology, music has been easy to share. It has been much more convenient than ever. Music today does not have to be sold in a retail shop, it is available to buy and sell on the internet. Many have even stopped printing their music in CD or tape format, most of them choose to go digitally.

There are websites and apps that stream music online meaning people today have music in their pockets.

Also Read: Research Explains People’s Obsession With Music From Their Youth