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Joachim van Dijk (480743)

Irma de Wind (471674)


MP3 player

From phonograph to MP3 player.

The purpose of this essay is to educate people about the history and the
future of music players. We found this topic interesting due to the fact that
the CD sales are going down and that the MP3 is taking over the music
market. This is a whole new development in the music industry and we
thought it was interesting to take a look and write about what other
developments have taken place in the history of recorded music.
In order to get the right information we are going to the library to find
books which are relevant to this topic. We are also going to look and
search trough the internet, and we are only going to use information from
reliable websites and sources so that we can deliver a perfectly reliable
What are we going to put in the essay?
This essay will be written in a chronological order. We start with the first
audio aperture, tell about the developments, and we will tell about the
latest technologies and inventions at the end. We start with the
phonogram for example, write about the development to LPs, and finally
we describe the latest digital media players. We will also write about cause
result relations for the developments: What made it happen that way, why,
and what were the consequences. We will try to put al the developments
in a clarifying frame.

It all started here

Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) was just a newspaper-boy on the Grand
Trunk railway when he installed his own laboratory in one of the wagons of
a train. It was there where the first device that could record and play back
a sound was invented: the phonogram.
Before the phonogram, there was a device that was able to record a
sound, but not play it back immediately with the same machine. This
machine was called the phonautograph. So, the invention of Edison was
a breakthrough, since people could go back in time with an audio
The device used a cylinder covered with soft metal or wax, to literally
engrave the sounds in it with a stylus. Playing back the recorded audio
was possible by tracing the stylus through the recorded engravings, and
then amplifying the sound. Even though his invention was a great success
earlier, more complications began to show up. One of the biggest ones
was that the cylinders that were needed for this technology were very
hard to mass-produce, what made the costs turn very high.
Another problem was that the original cylinder would be lost. With one
original cylinder, around 25 usable copies could be made, all with less
quality. So to get a large amount of salable copies, multiple
phonautographs were installed around the performer, who would play the
same song over and over, every time with new phonautographs. It was the
only way to record a sound, but it was very expensive; making copies cost
a lot of money, and the artist had to be paid for a whole day (perhaps even
more days) as well. Due to this, another technique was used.
Emile Berliner engraved the sound waves on a disc, instead of a cylinder.
The disc was easier to mass produce, and therefore cheaper. These discs
were called phonograph records. First, they were played
by machines with a clock worth motor, later with an
electric motor. This form of record playing wasnt
common until the beginning of the 40s.
E. Berliner

The Long Play record

In the beginning of the 50s the Long Play record, or what we now call LP
or vinyl hit the market, which was introduced by Columbia.
Not many years later the Extended Play came into the
market. In the 50s and 60s the gramophone, which was
then called record players or turntables, had an extremely
good sound quality after many years of experimenting. It
went really good with the record sales due to the fact that after the
Second World War the youth culture came up.
In 1958 the record player seemed to got threatened by the tape recorder
you could use at home (so not only for recording in a recording studio.) You
could now copy the music at your home but due to the price this machine
was only for professional use. After years of development of the tape
recorder Philips came in 1963 with the audiocassette Compact Cassette.
This cassette was intended for portable speech-only machines. Later the
quality of the cassette improved and it replaced the reel-to-reel record
player. The cassette was mainly used in cars but gained popularity when
Sony introduced Sony Walkman in 1979.
Now the cassette existed people could copy their music at home and they
could make their personal cassette with their own
music. The record companies saw their record sales
falling down so they build an anti-copy element on the
cassette players. This is when the first piracy
organizations came up.
Sony and Philips introduced the first Compact Disc in 1982 and one year
later the CD and CD players hit the market. Later CD became practically a
replacement for the vinyl, but that did not make the vinyl completely

disappear. In 2008 the vinyl made a comeback with 1.88 million vinyl sales
that is an increase of 89 percent over 2007. Sony introduced the mini disc
in 1992 that became very popular in Asian countries but was a fiasco in
the western countries.

The MP3
Winplay3 was the first software that could play MP3 on the PC which was
released in 1995. This was the beginning of the decline of the CD sales
since it was possible for people to play back and encode songs from their
PC. A record company called SubPop was the first company who distribute
digital music tracks in MP3 format, this appeared in 1999.
In the same year the mp3 players started to pop up and in
2001 apple launched the first ipod together with itunes.
Itunes is a program to manage the Ipod, later it became a
music store as well. This was a very good concept of Apple
since you could buy MP3s instead of downloading them illegally.

Record companies are trying everything to stop piracy (illegal downloading

and copying CDs) by putting security codes on CDs to prevent you from
copying and putting the CD on your computer and by suing illegal
downloaders. Sadly for the record companies it seems like this case is a
lost cause since people keep downloading and the CD sales are definitely
declining which we will discuss later. Itunes music store makes this case
seem a little bit brighter.
The numbers of music sales
If we take a look at the music sales numbers in the US ( we
can see that the CD sales in 2008 were 535.4 million units. This shows a
decline from 8.5 over 2007. The digital music is increasing and broke a
new record in 2008, over 1.07 billion digital tracks and 65.8 billion digital

albums were sold. In the future, this number will expand even more, since
the use of digital media-players will increase, and the cd-players will
decrease. Within ten years, cd sales will be approximately half of what
they are now.

A DJ's point of view

A different point of view: the DJs. Since the 80s DJs are using LPs to play
tracks, but when a pioneer made his first proper DJ cd player everything
changed. According to Miguel Fokkens, who is the founder of Technootjes
(big techno party in Groningen) and well respected DJ, vinyl will never
disappear. As a DJ he uses more vinyl then CD's because in his opinion the
vinyl sounds warmer, more solid and in tenser. Some DJ's are using CD's
and mp3 since this is much cheaper than buying a LP.
Davlov, a DJ and a friend of Miquel, uses the programm Serato. This
programm works on a laptop and tranlates digital signals into analog
signals. The DJ is playing with blanc vinyls so the MP3 is translated to
these blanc vinyls. So technically you are still playing with vinyls.
Still, nothing can beat the sense of holding your record in your hands and
mixing it on a technics player. Fokkens states that the CD will disappear
sooner than the mp3, in state the technology will provide easier ways to
play mp3s for DJ's.

Interview with Miguel Fokkens
Waarom draai je dan ook soms met cd's ? Is de geluidskwaliteit
van vinyl beter?
Sometimes I play tracks from CD because the track that I want to play isn't
released yet (promo) or I can't get the record any more because its to old.
Some classic tracks that are on vinyl can be bought on "second hand" sites
like discogs but are so expensive that I decide to download it somewhere
and burn it on CD or play it as MP3.
Draai je ook wel eens met een computer als in mp3 tjes afspelen
en dan op dat moment mixen?
One of my deejays from Technootjes called Davlov plays with MP3. Its a
program called Serato that he has on a labtop. MP3 tracks from his laptop
are translated from digital to an analog signal where he plays with two
blanc peaces of vinyl that don't have music on itself. So the MP3 tracks are
translated on these empty peaces of vinyl. So he's still is mixing like he is
playing with real records. With this system you can also play normal vinyl
records. So you can play MP3 as well as normal records. When I play back
to back sets with Davlov we always use this Serato.
I'am also thinking to play with this system myself in the future.
I still want to buy records offcourse. But lots of records I buy I play only
once or twice so it will be much cheaper for me to switch over to a system
like this and only buy rare records on vinyl for my collection.
Denk je dat dit de nieuwe populaire manier van "draaien" wordt
inplaats van cds/vinyl?

Like I have said before, for a lot of young deejays its more easier and
cheaper to play with CD's or MP3.
Most of the big deejay's play only new tracks that are not released yet so
they have to play it from CD or MP3. So the picture that a deejay is playing
records dissapears more ad more.
Its also nowdays the trend to be always the first to play a new track before
your collegue deejays do. So many deejays play tracks that aren't to be
released a half year later.
Companies develop their products like CD players and Serato to make
mixing record more easier so more people can learn.
The best record player ever Technics isn't made any more.
So as a deejay you are also forced to look at other options in the future.

In 2008 is er weer een hoogtepunt bereikt in de verkoop van vinyl

namelijk 1.88 million dat is 89 procent meer dan in 2007. Hoe
denk jij dat dit komt?
I think that lots of people have discovered vinyl again because lots of
people still like the idea to have a record in their hands, to get it out of
their collection, to lay it down on a record player and that they have to do
their best to mix records with each other. The warm sound vinyl has. So
the more romantic and nostalgic feeling you get from it. This, I think, still
attracks a lot of people to buy vinyl again.
Wat raad je aan andere (beginnende) DJ's aan, vinyl of cd of
mp3 en waarom?
When you are a young deejay and you don't have much money I think its
wise to start with CD or MP3. To have a big vinyl collections to start with as
a deejay costs a lot of money and takes alot of time.
Denk jij dat de mp3 de CD helemaal overneemt en dat de CD op
den duur verdwijnt?
That is always difficult to say. But I think that the CD will dissapear sooner
than vinyl. Still lots of deejays like to play CD instead of MP3. Perhaps
when the technology makes MP3 more easier to use for deejay's, the CD
might dissapear.
Zal de vinyl ooit verdwijnen? Waarom wel of niet?
Maybe when the generation that grew up with the classical idea that a
deejay's playing vinyl dissapears out of the scene it might be that vinyl
also looses interest.
But I think because of its romantic image, vinyl will never dissapear..I hope

not ;)

A.J. Wiggers, R.F. Lissens, A. Devreker, G.A. Kooy, H.A. Lauwerier, J. Presser
(1973), Grote Winkler Prins, fonograaf, 578
Fowler, Charles B. (October 1967), "The Museum of Music: A History of
Mechanical Instruments", Music Educators Journal 54
G. De Meyer (1997), Sprekende machines: De geschiedenis van de
fonografie en van de muziek industrie. Garant 1997
Mary Bellis,
Michel Munger - 2001.04.04

Nielsen, 2009

Philips, 2010