Format wars are nothing new: Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD. AAC vs. WMA vs. MP3. But 100 years ago, the competing formats were the rotating disc vs. the rotating cylinder.
In the end, the disc won–and it won for some very practical reasons.
First, it was more durable. You could play it more than a cylinder before it wore out. Second, discs could hold twice as much material. It had a side A and a side B. Cylinders had no such thing. Third, it was easy to label a disc with a round thing in the middle. The people who made cylinders didn’t label them. And finally, the companies backing discs hired the biggest stars to make recordings.
One of the biggest was a British outfit called the Gramophone Company. Today, they’re known as HMV, which is still in operation in parts of the world.