During the 1920s, important improvements were made by the disk industry to its product as it went from acoustical to electrical recording. As the 1930s rolled in, more detailed research on magnetic recording was carried out leading, ten years later, to a new revolution, as optical film recorders appeared, followed by steel wire and, finally, magnetic tape recorders.
Following in the steps of Herbert Berliner, other research was also being carried out on 33 rpm disks with higher groves density. This research brought about the introduction by Columbia in 1948 of the first long playing 33 rpm disks, followed a few months later by RCA Victor’s counter move, the launch of 45 rpm records. Ten years later, stereophonic records appeared, produced by means of a recording method for which Alan Blumlein had obtained a patent in 1933.
All of these technical advances, along with the arrival on the scene of recordists toward the end of the 1920s, transformed recording studios in a significant manner.
The importance of radio stations
From the moment they first appeared in 1919, radio stations got mixed reviews from the recording industry. Seen by some like Herbert Berliner as potential partners, they were feared by many others as major competitors. Initially, with the decrease in gramophones and records sales that occurred during the 1930s, this last perspective seemed to be the right one. But it did not hold true in the long run.
Radio, in fact, played a key role in later technological advancements as it encouraged the disk industry to put more effort into refining its product. Such efforts, when applied to equipment that is shared by both technologies, such as microphones, loudspeakers and amplifiers, were doubly encouraged by the presence of radio stations. Furthermore, as stations played records on the air, they allowed artists and their music to be appreciated by a wider audience and, thus, created a greater demand for their records.