Distributing Music Over Telephone Lines


This 1909 article from Telephony magazine details services offered by a company called Tel-Musici in Wilmington, Delaware.

The idea was simple: a special phone receiver was installed at the subscriber’s home and the subscriber was given a telephone directory in which phone numbers were assigned to pieces of music. The subscriber could then, for a fee of three cents per piece (or seven cents for grand opera!), dial up the desired music and a switchboard operator would play the appropriate record on a phonograph, transmitting the sound over the telephone line to the subscriber’s home. A megaphone attachment was provided for the home receiver in case more volume was needed. Tel-Musici boasted of superior sound quality free of “metallic, rasping, and grating features.” 


Before iTunes or Google..

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