Music business timeline
150 years of technology, radio, recording and music

The impact of technology on everyday life

Records as we know them were first sold in 1895 (the rotating disc was used until CD—there was even an early shellac disc which played from the centre outwards like CDs). Amplifiers followed a decade later (1907) but amplification for record players and radio didn’t arrive until 1925. Early amplified records were beyond most households and jukeboxes dominated USA record sales in the 1930s. The war boosted industry and communications but dampened consumption. Amplified record players arrived in every home during the 1950s and ‘60s and the first portable music player—transistor radio—in 1954. Stereo took hold in the late 1960s as corporate pop music emerged from the relentless consolidation of independent labels. In the early 1980s CDs launched the last and biggest phase of record sales. Finally, the overweight and over-priced physical album was ripe for competition and the download boom of 2000 was fuelled by a mass return to the cheaper single format.

It’s worth recalling how everyday life has been changed by the technology we now take for granted. Here’s an abbreviated sequence of music and technical developments over 130 years. I mostly ignore experimental demonstrations and prototypes in favour of changes visible to the general public (some may argue the Mellotron was a sampler etc. but that would rather miss the whole point—I show my choices for controversial innovations).

Notice how home entertainment technology never stood still. This challenges the notion that our last decade (2000 to 2010) was particularly innovative, volatile, or disruptive. Imagine living between 1880 and 1910 (the same time interval as compact disc to present day): electricity, telephone, photography, and records became available; and in the next 15 years: cinema, radio, airliners, and amplification. I would argue the arrival of the Internet is not exceptional historically. The cultural step of telecommunication (from none) is surely steeper than from telecommunication to the network. Here is the detailed chronology.

Timeline: technology, record labels, publishing, people, music and events

1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010
companies which later formed the Majors (of 2011*) are colour coded thusly:    ≡ EMI  ≡ WMG  ≡ Sony  ≡ UMG
* EMI was itself taken over in 2011/2012
Technology Record labels and publishing People, music and events
1811 ≡ Chappell & Company
opened in Bond Street, London selling sheet music
1832 Faraday’s Law
principle of electricity generation demonstrated
1st generator built
1830s public entertainment venues
Pleasure gardens, wrestling, “song and supper” taverns
1843 The Theatres Regulation Act ended monopoly
Of Royal Opera House and Theatre Royal Drury Lane
1846 saxophone
Adolphe Sax patent (expired 1866)
1848 1st Music Hall
Grapes Tavern, Southwark converted to Surrey Music Hall
modelled on previous tavern “song and supper” rooms
1849 Charles Morton’s Music Hall
Canterbury Arms, Lambeth converted to Canterbury Music Hall
1855 Spread of music halls
More than 300 music halls by the mid-1850s
1876 carbon microphone
Emile Berliner sold mic patent to Bell for telephones
acoustic telegraph
Alexander Graham Bell telephone
1877 phonograph
Edison tin foil cylinder
Bell Telephone Company
1878 Edison Speaking Phonograph Company 1st house in the world lit by hydroelectric power
Cragside House Northumberland
1880 electricity generators and distribution
1881 MPA formed
Music Publishers Association UK
1st public building in the world lit by electricity
Savoy Theatre, London home of Doyly-Carte
1882 electric light
New York
1888 Eastman Kodak Box Brownie
$1 camera with 117 roll film popularised photographyMusic halls
473 music halls recorded in London
1889 ≡ Columbia Graphophone Company
formed in Washington, USA (making graphophone cylinders)
Eiffel Tower constructed
1890 nickel operated phonograph jukebox
Glass Arnold
1893 Eldridge Johnson
joined Berliner and improved the gramophone
≡ United States Gramophone Company
formed by Emile Berliner to develop the gramophone (discs)
1895 playback-only discs and stamped copies
1st commercial availability of gramophone records
Lumière cinematograph, silent movies
≡ Berliner Gramophone Company
formed by Emile Berliner for record retail
1896 player piano
Theodore P. Brown’s Aeriol Piano 1st commercial instrument
A. W. Jones steals Berliner’s ideas
Gramophone Co. salesman has access to Berliner designs
1897 player piano
Edwin Votey’s Pianola popular Aeolian Company player
electronic organ
Thaddeus Cahill Telharmonium
≡ Gramophone Company (London)
formed by Berliner to sell gramophones and records in the UK
1898 magnetic sound recording
Valdemar Poulson magnetic wire demonstrated
≡ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft
formed by Emile Berliner for German sales
1899 Stroh violin
directional horn improved acoustic recording
Elevated piano
improved volume at the acoustic recording horn
National Gramophone Corporation
A. W. Jones’ Zon-o-phone (a copy of the gramophone)
1901 10" shellac discs
this was the common size but various others were used
≡ Columbia buys “Zon-o-phone patents”
$25,000 for access to the more popular (stolen) format
≡ Victor Talking Machine Company
formed by Emile Berliner and Eldridge Johnson
Death of Queen Victoria
Marconi: 1st transatlantic radio telegraph message
1902 electrical hearing aid
Millar Hutchinson
≡ Victor forced to license gramophone from Columbia
even though Jones’ attempt to sue Berliner was rejected
≡ Victor buys His Master’s Voice painting
from the Gramophone Company (London)
“British Empire” gramophone sales boom
new technology from USA exposed to a bigger market
1903 12" shellac discs
14" discs were also used
≡ Berliner & Johnson finally defeat A. W. Jones
Zon-o-phone’s assets pass to various Berliner companies
1st Ford Motor Company car, the Model A
1904 diode vacuum tube
electronic valve
1905 record player
Victor Victrola mechanical acoustic disc player
1906 AM radio
San Jose, California (but no regular music and speech)
Audion “triode” low pressure gas tube “diode”
with external signal coil, patented by Lee De Forest
San Francisco earthquake
1907 triode vacuum tube
true triode, used first for amplifying radio then records
1st million selling recording
Enrico Caruso aria Vesti la giubba from Pagliacci
1909 Bleriot: 1st aeroplane crossing of English Channel
1910 Bakelite plastic resin
popular for phonograph parts, radio controls and cases
1912 1st feature films and purpose-built cinema theatres
shorter films previously shown in shops, halls, etc.
1st Royal Command Performance
Palace Theatre Shaftesbury Ave, London, 142 music hall acts
1913 Bell Labs buy Audion amplifier tube rights
Bell’s parent Western Electric, developing cinema audio
30% of UK homes own a gramophone
Stravinsky Rite Of Spring
audience riot at the premiere
1914 PRS formed
Performing Right Society UK PRO
ASCAP formed
American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers PRO
Gramophone Company (London) sales
around 4 million records each year
Panama Canal completed
1915 Bell Labs further develop Vitaphone
using Audion amplifier, PA and condenser microphone
1916 Kodachrome and Technicolour debut
cinema mostly black & white to 1950, colour after 1960
Chu Chin Chow London stage musical
runs for 5 years and 2,238 performances
1917 NMPA formed
USA National Music Publishers Association
1918 cinema with photographic colour
superseding manual-colour
Some women over 30 given the vote in the UK
women fully enfranchised in 1928
1919 Short wave radio ≡ Radio Corporation of America
formed by GE using Marconi (USA) bought from Marconi (UK)
1st non-stop transatlantic flight
Alcock and Brown flew from Newfoundland to Ireland
1st mass-produced airliners: Farman Goliath
Variety started to replace Music Hall
2nd Royal Command Performance designated “Royal Variety”
1920 radio broadcasting UK
Marconi licensed AM radio, Writtle transmitter
Prohibition of alcohol in the USA
repealed in 1933
1921 Vibraphone invented
Hitler becomes leader of the Nazi Party
1922 sound-on-film Phonofilm
Lee De Forest using Theodore Case patents
BBC is formed
radio broadcasting from London
1923 Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio
renamed Walt Disney Productions Ltd in 1929
1924 electrical disc-cutting
(not mechanical acoustic) enabled masters and copies
≡ Deutsche Grammophon forms Polydor
distribution outside Germany
≡ Music Corporation of America (MCA)
formed as a talent agency in Chicago by Dr. Jules Stein
MCPS formed
Mechanical Copyright Protection Society UK
Malcolm Campbell sets world land speed record
146.16 mph in a V12 Sunbeam at Pendine Sands
1925 piezo-electric record pickup
amplified record players
78 rpm shellac records standard
patents had run out in 1918
≡ Warner Bros (films) buys Vitaphone
gramophone disc-based cinema (Audion) sound system
Victor Orthophonic Victrola
acoustic player for electrical recordings (many models)
Victor Electrola
amplified player for all recordings (RCA Radiola options)
—most domestic radio receivers were still “crystal sets”
1926 cinema with Vitaphone soundtrack
The Jazz Singer talkies 1st feature film
Phonofilm files for bankruptcy
Fox Movietone (Case) and RCA Photophone adopted
≡ Gramophone Company (London) buys Parlophone 1st Gramophone Company (London) million seller
O For The Wings of a Dove sung by Ernest Lough (HMV)
1927 AMI amplified jukebox with autochanger
followed by Wurlitzer, Seeburg and Rockola
Harry Fox Agency formed
USA mechanical royalty society
1st transatlantic telephone call
Lindbergh: 1st solo non-stop transatlantic flight
1928 Theremin electronic musical instrument Oscar Deutsch opens his first cinema
1st Harry Weedon art deco Odeon was opened in 1930
Radio Normandie broadcasts to Southern England
a popular commercial station competing with the BBC
1929 FM radio ≡ American Record Corporation (ARC) formed
≡ RCA buys Victor Talking Machine Company
forming RCA-Victor
≡ Decca Records formed in the UK
originally a gramophone manufacturer called Decca
The Wall Street Crash
1930 magnetised plastic tape audio recorder
reel-to-reel, Germany
SESAC formed
USA Society of European Stage Authors & Composers PRO
Al Bowlly signed with Ray Noble’s Orchestra
one of the 1st singers to use microphone technique
1931 ≡ Gramophone Co. (UK) & Columbia merge forming EMI
EMI: HMV, Parlophone, Columbia, with RCA licensing
EMI Abbey Road recording studios
Jack Hylton, Ray Noble and Al Bowlly sessions, then…
Official Abbey Road opening
November 12 Elgar recording Land Of Hope And Glory
1932 electric guitar
≡ Regal Records merge with Zonophone Records
forming Regal Zonophone, after parents merged forming EMI
Radio City Music Hall opens in NY
BBC Broadcasting House opens in London
Eastman Kodak Standard 8 home movie cameras
other semi-pro models were available a decade earlier
1933 Radio Luxembourg
begins regular music broadcasts to the UK
1934 humbucking coil principle
invented by Electro-Voice for use in PA systems
≡ ARC buys Columbia (USA)
Phonographic Performance Limited master PRO
≡ Decca Records (USA)
American subsidiary of Decca (UK) formed
PPL formed
Streamline design
1935 electronic organ
Hammond Model A
1936 BBC TV London
10,000 TV sets in the UK (1956: 5.25 million)
1937 Pulse Code Modulation
theory described by Alec Reeves for radio-telephony
Hindenburg disaster, New Jersey
after 36 transatlantic flights Hindenburg crashes on fire
1939 early synthesizer
Hammond Novachord
≡ Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) buys ARC
BMI formed
USA Broadcast Music Incorporated PRO
Jukeboxes use half of all record production (USA)
225,000 jukeboxes consume 13 million discs per year
1940 Sonovox vocal instrument processor
similar to the guitar talk box and later vocoder
BBC National and Regional Programmes
combined to form the Home Service (later BBC Radio 4)
1941 ASCAP 10 month publishers’ radio strike
BMI grew (formed in 1939 for radio they didn’t strike)
Having tried to raise radio royalties ASCAP had to take less
Oscar Deutsch dies
having opened 258 Odeon cinemas across the UK
1942 ≡ Capitol Records
formed in Los Angeles by Johnny Mercer
AFM musicians’ recording strike 1942–1944
AFM settled for improved royalties from the labels
1943 digital audio recording
Bell Labs 1st practical use of PCM
1945 ≡ Mercury Record Corporation
formed in Chicago
BBC radio General Forces Service ends
renamed The Light Programme (later Radio 2)
1946 ≡ MGM Records
formed in Hollywood by MGM
Bikini swimsuit introduced to the Western World
by Jacques Heim and Louis Réard in Paris
1947 ≡ Chess Records
formed in Chicago by Leonard Chess
≡ Atlantic Records
formed in New York by Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson
1948 vinyl 33 rpm 12 inch long playing (LP) record
Columbia Records
keyboard using taped sounds
Chamberlin (Mellotron Mk I followed 1963)
audio tape recorder
Ampex Model 200 1st commercial professional unit
Berlin Blockade
James Petrillo called another AFM strike
AFM settled for improved royalties on TV performances
1949 vinyl 45 rpm 7 inch “single” record
RCA Victor
Fender Telecaster
1st modern mass market electric guitar
1950 jukebox for 45 rpm singles
Seeburg M100C 1st commercial unit
≡ Elektra Records
formed in New York by Jac Holzman
≡ Philips Records (PPI)
formed in Holland by Philips Electronics
guitar sales in the UK
5,000 a year (by 1957 there would be 250,000 a year)
1951 reel-to-reel tape recorder
Studer Dynavox consumer home recording
video tape recorder
Ginsburg Ampex used in TV studios
Rock and Roll
Alan Freed DJ and Rocket 88 single
Gibson Les Paul
Goldtop launched, their 1st solid body electric
≡ Columbia (USA) terminates EMI licensing
RIAA formed
Recording Industry Association of America
Rock and Roll near-riot
Alan Freed’s 1st Cleveland Arena concert
New Musical Express 1st singles chart
14 November: 12 positions and 15 records
1953 Sun Records
formed in Memphis by Sam Phillips
≡ Epic Records
formed by CBS to release new acts
45 rpm singles
launched in the UK
1954 transistor radio
Regency TR-1 (Sony TR-55 followed 1955)
Fender Stratocaster
≡ Fontana Records formed Elvis Presley 1st single
That’s Alright Momma b/w Blue Moon Of Kentucky
NME singles chart expanded
to the Top Twenty in October
1955 multi-track tape recorder
Les Paul Ampex 8-track, very early model
humbucking guitar pickup
Gibson PAF (Patent Applied For) created by Seth Lover
≡ EMI buys Capitol Records, USA
for American distribution
≡ Liberty Records
formed in New York by Simon Waronker
≡ ABC Records
formed in New York
Blackboard Jungle
film, Rock Around The Clock used in opening credits
UK commercial television launched
1956 ≡ Verve Records formed Record Mirror album chart
only 5 positions
Skiffle: boom in acoustic guitar sales
Lonnie Donegan spin off from Chris Barber’s Jazz Band
The Girl Can’t Help It
film with Eddie Cochran, Little Richard, Fats Domino, etc.
2i’s Coffee Bar
opens in Old Crompton Street, London
1957 ≡ RCA (USA) terminates EMI licensing
ending Gramophone Co. connection
≡ EMI Records label formed
≡ United Artists Records formed
Little Richard becomes Christian and “retires”
(said to signal the decline of American Rock & Roll)
1958 integrated circuit
Texas Instruments
≡ Warner Bros. Records
formed in Hollywood by Jack Warner for soundtracks
1st stereo records for the general public
mass production of mono recordings ended in 1968
Melody Maker album chart
superseded the Record Mirror chart
Elvis Presley joins the US Army
(said to signal the decline of American Rock & Roll)
1959 drum machine
Wurlitzer Side Man 1st commercial unit
≡ Tamla Records
formed in Detroit by Berry Gordy
≡ Motown Records
formed in Detroit by Berry Gordy
Buddy Holly dies with Ritchie Valens, Big Bopper
plane crash (said to be the “death of USA Rock & Roll”)
Expresso Bongo
Cliff Richard and the Shadows film
M1 motorway opens in the UK
1960 EMI ceases 78 rpm production ≡ Reprise Records
formed by Frank Sinatra
≡ Philips buys Mercury Records
Delia Derbyshire
joins BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Maida Vale Studios
Lady Chatterley’s Lover published
Penguin Books defeat the Obscene Publications Act
1961 Joe Meek at RGM Sound in Islington
1st number one hit Johnny Remember Me by John Leyton
1962 audio cassette tape
Philips Compact Cassette
guitar effect pedal
Maestro Fuzz Tone FZ-1 1st commercial unit
≡ Island Records moves to the UK from Jamaica
≡ Almo/Irving Music
later renamed Rondor Music, formed as publisher for A&M
Radio Veronica
NME Poll Winners Concert…
The Shadows, John Leyton, Bert Weedon, Helen Shapiro
Acker Bilk, Billy Fury, Joe Brown, Adam Faith and others
1963 Lear Jet Stereo 8
a tape loop cassette format
≡ Warner merge with Reprise EMI Columbia and Parlophone dominate the charts
The Shadows, Frank Ifield, Gerry & The Pacemakers,
The Beatles, Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas: 45 weeks No.1
1964 ≡ CBS buys Oriole Records
providing UK distribution for CBS
≡ Nonesuch Records
formed in New York by Jac Holzman
The Beatles Ed Sullivan Show
9 February, CBS New York, TV audience 73 million
Radio Caroline and Radio London 1st broadcast
pirate radio, Caroline: 27 March, London: 16 December
Mods and Rockers clash
Clacton, Margate, Brighton, Bournemouth
1965 Folk Rock
Dylan goes electric 25 July Newport Folk Festival
1966 tape noise reduction
Dolby A
≡ Sire Records
formed by Seymour Stein (originally Sire Productions)
BBC colour TV
1967 ≡ Seven-Arts buys Warner and Atlantic Marine Offences Act outlawed pirate radio
midnight 14 August, Caroline continued broadcasting
BBC Radio One
1st broadcast 30 September
Monterey International Pop Music Festival
held in California as a 3-day music event for charity
1968 ≡ CBS and Sony joint venture CBS/Sony Records Country Rock
Gram Parsons, Byrds
Hyde Park Free Festival
Pink Floyd ,Tyrannosaurus Rex , Roy Harper, Jethro Tull
1969 integrated circuit
Mostek, Large Scale Integration
≡ Kinney buys Seven-Arts
≡ Chrysalis Records
formed in London by Chris Wright and Terry Ellis
≡ EMI forms Harvest Records
≡ Liberty Records merges with United Artists Records
Woodstock Music & Art Fair
15–18 August, Bethel, New York 3 Days of Peace & Music
Folk Rock (UK)
Fairport Convention
Altamont Speedway Free Festival
December, organised by the Rolling Stones
1970 Minimoog compact performance synth ≡ Kinney buys Elektra forming WEA
Warner Communications, Warner Elektra Atlantic distribution
Beatles split
Paul McCartney announces he is leaving (10 April)
Jimi Hendrix dies
18 September
1971 digital recording released
Nippon Columbia Something by Steve Marcus, NCB-7003
video cassette tape recorder
Sony U-matic professional
≡ Asylum Records
formed in California by David Geffen
Soul Train broadcasts from Chicago
1972 Hewlett Packard pocket calculator
HP-35 1st with scientific functions
≡ Philips buys Verve Records
≡ Polygram buys MGM Records
≡ Virgin Records
formed in London by Richard Branson
Atari arcade video game Pong
1973 ≡ Rhino Records
formed in LA by Richard Foos
≡ Warner buys Asylum
≡ Decca Records (US) renamed MCA Records
Universal (controlled by Decca) was bought by MCA in 1958
BPI formed
British Phonographic Industry
CBGBs club opens in New York
Country, Blue Grass, and Blues became punk
1974 ≡ Ardmore & Beechwood renamed EMI Music Publishing
≡ Arista Records
formed by CBS under Clive Davis
New York Punk scene
The New York Dolls, The Ramones, Television, etc.
1975 video cassette recorder
Sony Betamax VCR
MITS Altair 8800
home computer kit goes on sale in the USA
1976 video cassette recorder
100 Club Punk Festival, London
Apple Computer Company
formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
1977 ≡ Warner buys 50% Sire Records Sex Pistols God Save The Queen
banned by the BBC and IBA
1978 sampling keyboard synthesiser system
New England Digital Synclavier
Sex Pistols break up
1979 cassette multi-track recorder/mixer
Tascam 144 Portastudio
computer musical instrument
Fairlight CMI
digital audio tape recorder
Sony PCM-1600, others in use from 1976
personal audio cassette player
Sony Walkman cassette tape player
≡ Ariola Records buys Arista Records
from Columbia Pictures
≡ MCA buys ABC Records
≡ EMI buys United Artists Records
Disco peaks and mainstream rap/hip hop arrives
Sugarhill Gang (The Monkees of rap) Rapper’s Delight
1980 digital audio disc
Sony Philips CD
≡ Polygram buys Decca (UK)
≡ Warner buys 100% Sire Records
Led Zeppelin split after John Bonham’s death
John Lennon shot dead in New York
1981 MTV opens
1st video: Video Killed The Radio Star The Buggles
BBC Microcomputer launched
IBM PC launched
1983 digital FM synthesiser
Yamaha DX7 1st commercial unit
musical instrument digital interface
MIDI standard version 1
portable consumer cell phone
Motorola DynaTAC 8000x
≡ Creation Records
formed in London by Alan McGee
≡ Rykodisc
formed in Salem, Massachusetts
Chicago DJs make the first House music tracks
1984 ≡ Def Jam Records
formed in New York by Rick Rubin
Band Aid charity supergroup
Christmas single organised by Bob Geldoff & Midge Ure
1985 Live Aid charity concert
in London, Philadelphia, Sydney and elsewhere
1986 ≡ Polygram buys Chess Records
≡ Ariola Records buys RCA Records from GE
group renamed Bertelsmann Music Group
1987 ≡ Philips buys control of Polygram
≡ BMG Publishing founded
≡ Warner buys Chappell & Company
forming Warner Chappell Music Publishing
≡ Sony Corporation of America buys CBS Records
1988 Compact cassette sales overtake vinyl
exact date differs (region, value, total, etc.)
1989 Digidesign Sound Tools ≡ EMI buys 50% of Chrysalis Records
≡ Polygram buys Island Records
1990 ≡ Polygram buys A&M Records
≡ MCA buys Geffen Records
≡ Interscope Records
formed in Santa Monica by Jimmy Iovine
1991 Internet world wide web
Digidesign Pro Tools
≡ Sony renames record division
Sony Music Entertainment
≡ EMI buys 100% of Chrysalis Records
CD sales overtake compact cassette
exact date differs (region, value, total, etc.)
1992 ≡ EMI buys Virgin Records BritPop
guitar band scene (Blur, Suede, etc.) Camden, London
1993 audio file-sharing online
IUMA, Internet Underground Music Archive, Usenet
≡ Bad Boy Records
formed in New York by Sean “Diddy” Combs
1994 ≡ Polygram buys Motown Records
≡ Polygram buys Def Jam Records
1995 DVD optical disc
Philips, Sony, Toshiba, Time Warner
MP3 audio file format standard 1995
MP3 file player software
WinPlay3 personal computer
≡ MCA buys Interscope Records BBC DAB radio service
Singles on CD without vinyl versions
Celine Dion’s number one single 1st not released on vinyl
1996 ≡ MCA Music Entertainment
renamed Universal Music Group
1997 Elton John: Candle In The Wind 1997
all time best selling single: UK 4.8 m, world 37 m
1998 personal MP3 player
Diamond Rio 1st commercial example (iPod followed 2001)
≡ UMG parent (Seagram) buys Polygram
Polygram merges with Universal
≡ WMG buys Rhino Records
Association of Independent Music formed
Diamond sued by RIAA over Rio file player
1999 P2P file-sharing
Napster client with a central music index
≡ Philips Music Group merges with Decca Records
forming Decca Music Group (UMG) in Chiswick, London
online music retail, Indies first
1st substantial retail site was eMusic (with IUMA)
file-sharing web site free music uploads and downloads
Napster sued by RIAA
2000 UK broadband
NTL 512 kbps cable broadband launched
pure P2P file-sharing
Nullsoft Gnutella fully distributed GPL P2P client
music file copy-protection software
SDMI, Secure Digital Music Initiative delivers
≡ UMG acquires Rondor Music digital community crack SDMI technologies
3 weeks after SDMI Working Group challenge open letter
2001 Original Napster shut down by RIAA bought by UMG
closed after further legal action in 2003
2002 UK broadband
BT 512 kbps broadband launched
online music retail 1st retail site to license all the Major labels
2003 ≡ Universal Records buys Bad Boy Records Apple iTunes Music Store
opens 28 April with support from Major artists
Sony and UMG sell Pressplay to Roxio
rebranded Napster by Roxio who own the name
2004 ≡ Sony & BMG joint venture
called Sony BMG Music Entertainment
Peter Gabriel’s OD2 sold to Loudeye later sold to Nokia
2005 BBC introduces iPlayer
singles downloads added to the OCC chart
chart singles require physical release
2006 Blu-ray video disc players ≡ WMG buys Rykodisc IUMA closes
album downloads added to the OCC chart
OCC drop requirement for physical release
2007 ≡ EMI sold
to private equity firm Terra Firma £4.2bn
≡ UMG buys Sanctuary Group, and V2 Music Group
Copy protection DRM on CDs abandoned
following the Sony XCP root kit case 2005
2008 ≡ Sony buys Bertelsmann’s 50% of Sony BMG
renaming it Sony Music Entertainment
DRM on retail downloads abandoned
streaming chart added by the OCC
for qualifying subscription sites
iTunes Music Store becomes top US music retailer
2011 ≡ EMI taken over
indebted Terra Firma surrender EMI to Citigroup
Citigroup split EMI records and publishing
≡ UMG buys EMI recording
≡ Sony-led group buys EMI publishing

Sources of information

The Major record label web sites:

Sony doesn’t have an official company history online Sony Music Entertainment history.

Useful books:

Other sources:

Additional material was provided by Ray Pallett at Memory Lane magazine.

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