From Cave Singing to iTunes: The Amazing Evolution of Sound Technology

Today, If there’s a song you want to hear, in a matter of seconds, you can be listening to that tune. But it wasn’t always this way. To think thousands of years ago our ancestors were singing in caves.

We’ve come along way since the cave days. From the record player to cassettes, CDs, MP3s and now streaming music. Keep reading to learn more about the evolution of music.

Evolution Of Music’s Begining: The Record Player

The first sound recording was in 1877 when American inventor Thomas Edison created the phonograph. The phonograph’s sound quality wasn’t ideal and each recording could only last one play.

Next, there was the gramophone, which was the first device that stopped recording on cylinders and started recording on flat disks or records. Since there wasn’t electricity yet, you had to wind it up to use it. From Cave Singing to iTunes The Amazing Evolution of Sound Technology

Emile Berliner invented the first records for the gramophone and they were made out of glass. These records had a spiral groove where the sound information was had to be etched into the flat record.

The record was then rotated on the gramophone which had an arm and a needle that could read the grooves on the record by vibrations. The vibrations then made the sound.

There was also the graphophone, which used wax cylinders that could be played over and over. But each cylinder needed to be recorded separately. So you couldn’t mass reproduce the same music or sound.

Over time records evolved and stopped being made out of glass. Instead, they were made out of plastic so they could easily be mass produced. Unfortunately, vinyl plastic isn’t that strong, so records could easily be broken.

Today, people still have record players and vinyl. Some will claim nothing sounds better than music on vinyl. You can buy modern record players pretty much anywhere today.


Next, came headphones as early as 1910. Even though the first generation of headphones was bulky and uncomfortable, they set the tone for the lightweight seamless headphones we have today.

Today you can easily buy the best headphones for little money.

FM Radio

The 1930s brought FM radio broadcasts. Soon FM radio was the preferred way households listened to old classics and discovered new tunes.

FM radio gave listeners a frequency less static than AM. By 1978 FM radio was incredibly common.

Cassette Decks

The 1970s also brought the cassette tapes, that were used to listen to and record music. Cassettes used a magnetic tape that played the music from left to right. Once a side was done, you flipped the tape over to listen to the other side.

In the 1970s, cassette tapes were widely used to record and listen to music. They used magnetic tape, and the music played through from left to right. Once one side was done, you flipped it over for more songs on the other.

Then with the growth of FM radio came the compact cassette in 1962. During this time the company Dolby made the first cassette players, which debuted in 1970.

This took the music world by storm and soon top artists moved from vinyl LPs to cassette tapes. Soon, cars had cassette tape decks, which moved the growth of cassettes in the late 1970s.

Sony Walkman

The first personal cassette player became popular in 1979 by Sony. The cassette player would become one of the most iconic devices of the 1990s. Later, the Sony Walkman would be replaced by the portable CD player, but you cannot downplay the Sony Walkman’s iconic status.


Compact Disks (or CDs) and CD players became widely available in the 1980s, beginning with Phillips and Sony in 1982. Soon CDs beat cassettes, as you could easily skip to whatever song you wanted to with a CD.

CDs also had more storage ability and were sleeker than a cassette tape. There were also mini disk players in 1992.

This was the first time you could listen to songs how you wanted to. The mini disk player let you move or delete songs on your player or personal computer.


Beginning as early as 1994 there was more portability with music. The invention of Bluetooth made music more mobile than ever before. Today Bluetooth technology allows us to use wireless speakers, headphones and even hands-free driving.

MP3 Player

The MP3 player was invented in 1998 and was a huge development in the music industry. This device had a small size with the ability to download music files easily. However, the first MP3 players were bulky with as less as 32 MB of space.

MP3 players would forever change the way we listen to music. The iPod was the first device where you could upload songs digitally and store 100s of songs on the go.

In 2007 the iPod touch was introduced. This was the first music device with WiFi allowing users to connect to the iTunes store to download and listen to music on the go.

The iPod lead to the Apple boom. Soon people could carry around an entire library of 5000 songs. iPods made everyone feel like their own DJ, soundtracking their lives with the touch of a button.

Streaming Music

Today, we listen to most of our music through our phones or computer. We can easily download or stream music on the Internet. We can do this through apps like iTunes or Spotify, or a simple Youtube search

Today the Internet is available in almost every home. Now families can stream whatever they want on Apple Music, Spotify, Saavn, Hungama, or other music streaming websites. Or you can simply watch every music video ever on Youtube.

Listen To Music

Now you know the evolution of music. From singing in caves to the many different record players, cassettes, CDs, MP3s and now streaming. If there’s a song you want to hear, today you can listen to that track immediately.

It’s crazy to think about how new the music industry really is. So the next time you listen to your favorite song, be grateful with how easily you can do this today.

I travel the entire world while blogging and doing freelancing services. Before I started writing for a living I experimented with various occupations, but writing is my favourite job and doing it full time makes me happy. I helped many of my clients build their audience online. I love creating unique and research-driven contents.

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