Only a hundred years ago, listening to music was a rather complicated business and watching moving images was completely impossible.
Sound and Vision. In 1877 Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, the first machine to record sound. Ten years later, Emile Berliner invented the gramophone, which recorded sound on to a zinc disc, and eventually on to vinyl.
In 1926 John Logie Baird, famous for inventing television, invented a machine that recorded video on to a wax disc. He called it Phonovision.
Many people were frustrated by the sound quality of vinyl records and their lack of durability. By 1970 scientist James Russell had developed a way of digitally encoding information, including sounds, on to a disc, read by a laser. Sony eventually licensed this technology.
At the same time, Klass Compaan and Piet Kramer, working for the Dutch company Philips, came up with a prototype glass disc that could record video. But the idea didn’t take off for another 20 years.
Throughout the 1970s, Sony and Philips worked to perfect CD technology. They collaborated to come up with a standard that was demonstrated in public in 1979 and went on sale in 1982.
In the 1990s Digital Versatile Discs for recording video were developed, based on Compaan’s and Kramer’s invention. Even though they’re the same size, DVDs can store much more information than CDs.
DVDs went on sale in Japan in 1996, and in North America and Europe in the following two years. They very quickly replaced video tapes.
Playtime: Akio Morita, head of Japanese company Sony, insisted that CDs should have a playing time of at least 74 minutes because that’s how long it takes to play his favorite piece of music: Beethoven’s 9th symphony.
Take a typical week in your life and make your own ‘soundtrack to your life’ album mix. Write down the songs that describe your week. Some suggestions for moments in your week have been made to get you on track, but you don’t have to use them if your songs don’t fit. Make a copy of your soundtrack and add it to your music collection.