Segments in this Video

Capturing the Essence of Music (01:51)


The phonograph, invented by Thomas Edison, was a device to capture and replay sounds, Its invention would launch an incredible industry.

The Gramophone (01:40)

Emile Berliner's Gramophone played flat disks and sparked improvements in the technology which made recording of music a viable product in the marketplace.

Sheet Music (01:10)

In the 1920's people bought their music primarily through sheet music. Ragtime was the popular genre of the time. The phonograph became the replacement of the piano in the home.

Cross-Fertilization (01:29)

Enrico Caruso was one of the first mass media figures due to his embracing of recorded music.

Electric Microphones (01:01)

Before electric microphones were invented, artists would have to use megaphones to project their voices to the back of the room.

Minority Cultures (03:00)

Race records were recordings marketed towards African Americans and included blues, jazz, and gospel music.

Colorful Music (01:49)

The Jazz Age was the first cultural movement fueled by recorded music.

Recording Industry - Big Business (02:45)

In the 1930's, jazz music helped turn the record industry into big business. Big bands and their recorded music was a huge boom to the industry. Jukeboxes allowed listeners to choose what they wanted to hear.

Cultural Phenomena (02:42)

Although the recording of rock and roll music brought races together, it ultimately created a chasm between the young and old.

The Outgrowth of Rock and Roll (02:06)

The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Elvis Presley were considered very influential in the outgrowth of rock and roll. Many artists began writing their own music.

The Motown Sound (02:07)

Barry Gordy brought African American music to the mainstream of American culture.

Recorded Music - Catalyst for Change (02:26)

For the past 30 years, rock and roll has been the prominent musical format in the world. Recorded music continues to be an important catalyst for cultural interaction and social change.

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Recording History

Part of the Series : The Story of Film, TV, and Media
DVD Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



When Thomas Edison devised a way to capture and replay sounds, he thought it useful for recording business letter dictation—but America had a different vision. This program examines the remarkable history of recorded music, from the Jazz Age, to the Big Band Era and World War II, to rock ’n’ roll and rap. Executives from the BMI archives and Capitol-EMI Music, along with representatives of the Smithsonian Institution, discuss the social and cultural aspects of affordable, mass-produced music, plus the roles of recording originals like Enrico Caruso, Bing Crosby, Glenn Miller, Elvis, the Beatles, Berry Gordy, and Bob Dylan. In the U.S., recorded music has brought races together and split generations apart, while around the globe it has altered cultural identities, changing the way in which nations see others and themselves. (28 minutes)

Length: 32 minutes

Item#: BVL8565

ISBN: 978-0-7365-6048-1

Copyright date: ©1997

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

β€œAn excellent review of the recording industry.”—Journalism History

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.