History of Record Labels and the Music Industry
by Alex Cosper

Introduction 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s

Decade Recording Industry Developments
1880s Thomas Edison gained the patent for the phonograph.
1890s Competing technologies between discs and cylinders marked the first decade of recording as an industry.
1900s Discs won the format battle over cylinders as Columbia and Victor began to set industry standards.
1910s Early phonograph patents expired, opening the door for many new independent labels.
1920s The music industry boomed following the birth of the radio industry and microphone technology.
1930s The Great Depression hurt record sales until the emergence of jukeboxes in bars and record prices fell.
1940s The introduction of 12" LPs and 7" 45s began to replace 78 rpm records.
1950s 4-track recording and rock and roll music created new sounds aimed at the teen market.
1960s Dance crazes, surf music, British Invasion, Motown, folk and experimental recording broadened pop music.
1970s Stereo 24-track recording became the new music industry standard.
1980s Era of digital recording redefined production while CDs began replacing vinyl records.
1990s After a series of mergers the big six record labels shrunk to four major labels.
2000s Digital downloads helped stabilize the music industry's falling sales.
Introduction 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s

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