Today We Can Carry 40,000 Songs in Our Pocket

But 125 years ago you couldn’t hear a song unless you went to see a band. This is the 125th anniversary of George Edward Gouraud‘s recording of Handel‘s Israel in Egypt, which for many years was thought to be the oldest known recording of music. It is most likely the oldest recording of classical music.

The oldest known voice and music recording was 135 years and 7 days ago on June 22, 1878, made on a Thomas Edison phonograph in St. Louis, and consisting of a 23-second cornet solo of an unidentified song and a man’s voice reciting “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Old Mother Hubbard”. Described in this CBS News article, you can hear the unrestored recording, courtesy of The Creators Project.

And it was only 34 years ago on July 1, 1979 that Sony introduced the Sony Walkman TPS-L2, a 14 ounce, blue-and-silver, portable cassette player with chunky buttons, headphones and a leather case. In other words, we’ve only had recorded music for 125 years and recorded music on the go for a little over a quarter of that time, where you were limited to a cassette tape that couldn’t hold more than 20 songs. And now you can carry around a smaller iPod Classic that can hold 2000 times that. The pace of innovation over the last 75 years is absolutely astounding.