The rise and fall of music formats through the decades

The first format to store audio was Thomas Edison’s cylinder-based talking machine, first unveiled in 1877. Then came Emile Berliner’s flat rotating disc, the forerunner of the 10-inch 78 RPM record. That format ruled until 1948 when Columbia Records introduced the 33 1/3 RPM 12-inch long-playing vinyl album, followed by RCA’s 7-inch single less than a year later. Then came reel-to-reel tape, the 8-track, the cassette, and the compact disc (with a ton of failed formats in between).

This video takes a look at the rise and fall of some of these formats over the last 50 years. Progress. There’s no stopping it. (Via Hypebot)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38296 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “The rise and fall of music formats through the decades

  • Alan, I’m sorry to bother you. I’m hoping to incorporate your descriptions of the different 5-year-long eras of music in a syllabus on Rock & Roll History. It’s genius! But I can’t find it. Can you please reply with a URL? Many, many thanks!


Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.