Soundstream: The Introduction of Commercial Digital Recording in the United States

Developments in digital technologies during the last 35 years have had arguably the most profound effect on the sound recording and music industries since the invention of the phonograph record. Digital audio recording is now ubiquitous, inexpensive, and available to anyone with access to a computer and a basic audio interface. However, this was not always the case. During the 1970s, designers of emerging digital recording technologies collaborated with sound engineers, producers and artists, helping to establish standards for the capture, editing, playback and storage of digital audio; paradigms that would come to govern much of modern recording. This article takes the form of a case study, examining the introduction and development of commercial digital recording technologies in the United States between 1975-1983, through the experiences of an early innovator in the field.