1857 - Leon Scott invents the phonoautograph, the first device to
record arbitrary sound, in France.
* 1877 - Thomas Alva Edison invents the phonograph cylinder, the first
device to playback recorded sound, in the United States.
* 1887 - German-American Emile Berliner invents the gramophone, a
lateral disc device to record and playback sound.
* 1889 - Coin-slot phonograph machines, the general public's first
encounter with recorded sound, begin to be mass produced. The earliest
versions played only a single record, but multiple record devices,
called jukeboxes, were soon developed.
* 1892 - Emile Berliner begins commercial production of his gramophone
records, the first disc record to be offered to the public.
* mid-1890s to early 1920s - Cylinder and disc recordings, and the
machines to play them on, are widely mass marketed and sold. The disc
system gradually becomes more popular due to its cheaper price and
* 1906 - Reginald Fessenden transmits the first audio radio broadcast
in history when he plays Christmas music from Brant Rock, Massachusetts.
* 1910s - Regular radio broadcasting begins, using "live"
as well as prerecorded sound. In the early radio age, content typically
includes comedy, drama, news, music, and sports reporting. The on-air
announcers and programmers would later be known as disc jockeys.
* 1920s - "Juke-joints" become popular as a place for dancing
and drinking to jukebox music.
* 1927 - Christopher Stone becomes the first radio announcer and programmer
in the United Kingdom, on the BBC radio station.
* 1929 - Thomas Edison ceases phonograph cylinder manufacture, ending
the disc and cylinder rivalry.
* 1934 - American commentator Walter Winchell coins the term "disc
jockey" (the combination of "disc", referring to the
disc records, and "jockey", which is an operator of a machine)
as a description of radio announcer Martin Block, the first announcer
to become a star in his own right. While his audience was awaiting
developments in the Lindbergh kidnapping, Block played records and
created the illusion that he was broadcasting from a ballroom, with
the nation’s top dance bands performing live. The show, which
he called Make Believe Ballroom, was an instant hit.
* 1940s - Musique concrète composers utilize portions of sound
recordings to create new compositions. This is the first occurrence
* 1943 - Jimmy Savile launches the world's first DJ dance party by
playing jazz records in the upstairs function room of the Loyal Order
of Ancient Shepherd's in Otley, England. in 1947 he paid a local metal
worker to weld two domestic record decks together and became the first
DJ to use twin turntables for continuous play.
* 1947 - The "Whiskey-A-Go-Go" nightclub opens in Paris,
France, considered to be the world's first discothèque, or
disco (deriving its name from the French word, meaning a nightclub
where the featured entertainment is recorded music rather than an
on-stage band). Discos began appearing across Europe and the United
* late 1940s to early 1950s - The introduction of television erodes
the popularity of radio's early format, causing it to take on the
general form it has today, with a strong focus on music, news and
* 1950s - American radio DJs would appear live at "sock hops"
and "platter parties" and assume the role of a human jukebox.
They would usually play 45-rpm records featuring hit singles on one
turntable, while talking between songs. In some cases, a live drummer
was hired to play beats between songs to maintain the dance floor.
* 1955 - Bob Casey, a well-known sock hop DJ, introduces the first
two-turntable system for the purpose of alternating back and forth
between records, creating continuous playback.
* late 1950s - Jamaican sound systems, a new form of public entertainment,
are developed in the ghettos of Kingston, Jamaica. Promotors, who
called themselves DJs, would throw large parties in the streets that
centered around the disc jockey, called the "selector".
These parties quickly became profitable for the promoters, who would
sell admission, food and alcohol, leading to fierce competition between
DJs for the biggest sound systems and newest records.
* mid-1960s - Nightclubs and discotheques continue to grow in Europe
and the United States. However, by 1968, the number of dance clubs
started to decline.
* 1969 - American club DJ Francis Grasso popularizes beatmatching
at New York's Sanctuary nightclub. Beatmatching is the technique of
creating seamless transitions between back-to-back records with matching
beats, or tempos. Grasso also perfected slip-cueing, the technique
of holding a record still while the turntable is revolving underneath,
releasing it at the desired moment to create a sudden transition from
the previous record.
* late 1960s - Most American discos either closed or were transformed
into clubs featuring live bands. Neighborhood block parties that are
modeled after Jamaican sound systems gain popularity in Europe and
in the boroughs of New York City.
* early 1970s - The Vietnam War, oil crisis, and economic recession
has a negative impact on dance clubs and disc jockeys. The total number
of clubs and DJs dropped substantially, and most of the dance clubs
were underground gay discos. It should also be noted that electronics
company Technics released a series of direct-drive DJ turntables during
* 1974 - Jamaican-born DJ Kool Herc - who is widely regarded as the
"godfather of hip hop culture" - develops a technique called
breakbeat while performing block parties in his Bronx neighborhood.
He would mix back and forth between two identical records to extend
the rhythmic instrumental segment, or break. Turntablism, the art
of using turntables not only to play music, but to manipulate sound
and create original music, is considered to begin at this time.
* 1974 - Technics releases the first SL-1200 turntable, which evolves
into the SL-1200 MK2 in 1979, currently the industry standard for
* 1974 - German electronic music band Kraftwerk releases the 22-minute
song "Autobahn", which takes up the entire first side of
that LP. Years later, Kraftwerk would become a significant influence
on hip hop artists such as Afrika Bambaataa and house music pioneer
* mid 1970s - Hip hop music and culture begins to emerge, originating
among urban African Americans and Latinos in New York City. The four
main elements of hip hop culture are MCing (rapping), DJing, graffiti,
* 1975 - Disco music takes off in the mainstream pop charts in the
United States and Europe, causing discotheques to experience a rebirth.
* 1975 - Record pools begin, enabling disc jockeys access to newer
music from the industry in an efficient method.
* 1976 - American DJ, editor, and producer Walter Gibbons remixes
"Ten Percent" by Double Exposure, one of the earliest commercally
released 12" singles (aka "maxi-single").
* 1977 - Hip hop DJ Grand Wizard Theodore invents the scratching technique
* 1977 - New York's Studio 54 nightclub grosses $7 million in its
first year of business (which is roughly $21 million in today's dollars
after adjusting for inflation). In the same year, the motion picture
Saturday Night Fever popularizes discotheques and becomes one of the
top-10 grossing films in history (at the time).
* 1979 - The Sugar Hill Gang release "Rapper's Delight",
the first hip hop record to become a hit. It was also the first real
breakthrough for sampling, as the bassline of Chic's "Good Times"
laid the foundation for the song.
* 1979 - An anti-disco protest in Chicago's Comiskey Park marks the
major backlash against disco amongst rock music fans, who preferred
guitars and live drums over electronically generated sounds and beats.
This is considered to be the year that disco "died", although
the music remained popular for several more years, particularly in
underground clubs and in Europe, where the subgenres Euro Disco and
Italo Disco were created.
* 1981 - Cable television network MTV is launched, originally devoted
to music videos, especially popular rock music. The term "video
jockey", or VJ, was used to describe the fresh faced youth who
introduced the music videos.
* 1982 - The demise of disco in the mainstream by the summer of 1982
forces many nightclubs to either close or to change entertainment
styles, such as by providing MTV style video dancing or live bands.
* 1982 - "Planet Rock" by DJ Afrika Bambaataa is the first
hip hop song to feature synthesizers. The song melded electronic hip
hop beats with the melody from Kraftwerk's "Trans-Europe Express".
* 1982 - The compact disc reached the public market in Asia and early
the following year in other markets. This event is often seen as the
"Big Bang" of the digital audio revolution.
* 1983 - House music emerges. The name was derived from the Warehouse
club in Chicago, where the resident DJ, Frankie Knuckles, mixed old
disco classics and Eurosynth pop. House music is essentially disco
music with electronic beats. The common element of most house music
is a 4/4 beat generated by a drum machine or other electronic means
(such as a sampler), together with a solid (usually also electronically
* 1983 - Jesse Saunders releases the first house music track, "On
* mid-1980s - New York Garage emerges at DJ Larry Levan's Paradise
Garage nightclub in New York. The style was a result of the club DJs
who would unsuccessfully try to duplicate the Chicago house sound,
for example, leaving out the accentuated high-hats.
* mid-1980s - Techno music emerges from the Detroit club scene. Being
geographically located between Chicago and New York, Detroit techno
combined elements of Chicago house and New York garage along with
European imports. Techno distanced itself from disco's roots by becoming
almost purely electronic with synthesized beats.
* 1985 - The Winter Music Conference starts in Fort Lauderdale Florida
and becomes the premier electronic music conference for dance music
* 1986 - "Walk This Way", a rap-rock collaboration by Run
DMC and Aerosmith, becomes the first hip hop song to reach the Top
10 on the Billboard Hot 100. This song is the first exposure of hip
hop music, as well as the concept of the disc jockey as band member
and artist, to many mainstream audiences.
* 1988 - The acid house scene emerges in the UK. Originally called
"acid parties" for a select few, the events grew in size
and popularity, eventually spreading throughout England, Europe, the
United States, and the rest of the world.
* early 1990s - The rave scene grows out of the acid-house scene.
Many elements of the rave scene, such as baggy pants and breakdancing,
appear to be inherited from the Northern Soul scene of the UK approximately
15 years earlier. The notion of "trainspotting," for example,
derives from Northern Soul's emphasis on researching and collecting
rare & obscure records; while preventing other DJs from stealing
titles via "white labels". The rave scene forever changed
dance music, the image of DJs, and the nature of promoting. The innovative
marketing surrounding the rave scene created the first superstar DJs.
* early 1990s - The compact disc surpasses the gramophone record in
popularity, but gramophone records continue to be made (although in
very limited quantities) into the 21st century, particularly for club
DJs and for local acts recording on small regional labels.
* mid-1990s - Trance music emerges as a result of producers who wanted
to transform repetitive, instrumental rave music into commercially
accessible pop songs with vocals. Trance was central to the success
of commercial dance music and superstar DJs such as Paul Oakenfold.
* 1992 - MPEG which stands for the "Moving Pictures Experts Groups,
releases The MPEG-1 standard, designed to produce reasonable sound
at low bit rates. MPEG-1 Layer-3 popularly known as MP3 (a Lossy format)
will revolutionize the digital music domain.
* 1992 - Promo Only, a popular music service for disc jockeys is launched.
* 1993 - The first Internet "radio station", Internet Talk
Radio, was developed by Carl Malamud. Because the radio signal is
relayed over the Internet, it is possible to access internet radio
stations from anywhere in the world. This makes it a popular service
for both amateur and professional disc jockeys operating from a personal
* 1995 - The first full-time, Internet-only radio station, Radio HK,
begins broadcasting the music of independent bands.
* late 1990s - Nu metal bands such as Ko?n, Limp Bizkit, and Linkin
Park reach the height of popularity. This new subgenre of alternative
rock bears some influence from hip hop, because rhythmic innovation
and syncopation are primary, often featuring DJs as bandmembers.
* late 1990s - Various DJ and Video_jockey VJ_software VJ software
programs are developed, allowing personal computer users to deejay
or veejay using his or her personal music or video files.
* 1998 - The first MP3 digital audio player is released, the Eiger
Labs MPMan F10.
* 1998 - Final Scratch is announced by Amsterdam based N2IT. This
program "mapped" digital music files onto timecoded vinyl
records that were then played on a traditional DJ setup. This was
the first product of it's kind, and later spawned a slew of competing
products (including Serato Scratch Live, Ms. Pinky, and Mixvibes).
Final Scratch was later bought by Stanton Magnetics, and its software
development is now handled by Native Instruments. Final Scratch was
later launched in India in 2003 by DJ Jazzy Joe through his Mixmasters
Concept sponsored by Stanton.
* 1999 - Shawn Fanning releases Napster, the first of the massively
popular peer-to-peer file sharing systems.
* 1999 - late 1999 - AVLA (Audio Video Licensing Agency) of Canada
announces MP3 DJing license. Administered by the Canadian Recording
Industry Association. DJs can now apply for a license giving them
the right to burn their own compilation CDs of "useable tracks,"
instead of having to cart their whole CD collections around to their
* 2001 - Apple Computer's iPod is introduced and quickly becomes the
highest selling brand of portable digital mp3 audio player. The convenience
and popularity of the iPod spawns a new type of DJ, the self-penned
"MP3J". First appearing in certain East London clubs, and
spreading to other music scenes, including New York City, this new
DJ scene allows the average music fan to bring two iPods to an "iPod
Night", plug in to the mixer, and program a playlist without
the skill and equipment demanded by a more traditional DJ setup.
* 2001 - late 2001 - Atlanta, Georgia, The fist Computerized Performance
System Disc Jockey gathering was scheduled and organized during the
small DJ3 convention. CPS mixing culture begins to emerge and organize.
* 2005 - Computerized Performance System Disc Jockey Summit is launched.
Hosted by Professor Jam and originally developed as a social gathering
in 2001, it was the first dedicated computer disc jockey industry