Doing it for the record

Thomas Edison is famous for many things. The lightbulb. Direct current. Moving pictures. Electrocuting elephants. But in the music industry, his legacy is built on one thing — the first practical machine for recording sounds. Just as notation allowed compositions to become a commodity, Edison’s phonograph did the same for performances. Now, with the composition apparatus thoroughly in the hands of the publishers, the time was right for musical stars — and the record labels that made them.