On This Day – Wanna Buy a Record Player?

On this day, well nearly – actually on 22nd August 1906 – the Victor Talking Machine Company (New Jersey) started selling record players. The price was about $200 which must have been huge at the time. Records ranged from $1 to $7.

This was one of those pivotal moments in the history of popular music. There were some who said that it was the end of the world, culture available for the masses? A dreadful development. Having said that no Victrolar (that’s what it was called) and there would have been no James Blunt or Celine Dion and so the world would have been a better place. On the other hand, there would also be no Tim Fite, Nick Cave, Beefheart, Zappa, Patti, or Lou.

OK, on the whole it was a good thing.

J P Sousa (a renowned conductor) was off the mark when he said that recorded music would be the end of the amateur musician. About as right as the head of IBM predicting that there would only ever be 7 mainframe computers in the world, or the American politician (can’t remember his name) who said that the Japanese did not make things that the American public would want to buy…….

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