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A 10-second recording of a singer performing the folk song Au Clair de la Lune is made in Paris, France, Europe, by Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville, on his invention the phonautograph, a machine designed to record sounds visually, in soot on a glass surface, but incapable of playing them back. Playback of this recording will not be effected until 2008 by a group of American audio historians. It is nevertheless, the first documented recording of a human voice.
Thomas Edison applies for several patents in connection with his invention of an automatic determining device for phonographs.
Henry Price Ball of Chicago, Illinois, USA, and Samuel Insull of New York City, file Patent Application No US736571A in respect of their invention of a new type of perforating device for automatic music-rolls.
W.W. Saunders of Washington DC, USA, applies for a patent for his invention of an automatic playing attachment for pianos or other musical instruments of similar character.
William Moerscher of Belvidere, New Jersey, USA, files a patent for a new and improved type of harp.
Herbert J La Joie of New Jersey, USA, files a patent for a Speed-controlling device for musical instruments, intended to improve regulation of the speed of the note sheets in automatic musical instruments.
Thaddeus Cahill is granted another patent in respect of an apparatus for generating and distributing music electrically. Cahill was an electronic music innovator, best-known as the inventor of The Telharmonium.
Enea Flavio Giacardi of Milan, Italy, is granted a patent for his 16-selection 'Fonografo Giacardi Automatico' - a coin-operated phonograph.
In Schenectady, New York, USA, the General Electric Company demonstrates its new sound-on-film process, the first capable of synchronizing recorded sights and sounds on a single strip of film. This product of six years research opens a new era in movies, taking the world from silent films to the 'talkies' and, of course, musicals.
HMV launches its first record-changing gramophone, The Automatic Change Gramophone, in the UK with a price tag of £125.
Kodak announces the launch of Kodachrome, a new type of film. Paul Simon's 1973 song, Kodachrome, will be inspired by this invention.
Plutonium is first produced at the Hanford Atomic Facility, Washington, USA, and will subsequently be used in the Fat Man atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, Asia. Songs inspired by the creation of plutonium include The Plutonium Song by Malvina Reynolds, Uh-oh Plutonium by Anne Waldman and Plutonium by Alice Chambers.
Mockin' Bird Hill by Les Paul And Mary Ford is the current No1 single in the UK.
In his year-end statement, David Sarnoff, Chairman of RCA, hails the newly-developed transistor as a scientific marvel which is likely to revolutionise electronics and communications.
The 2000 Pound Bee by The Ventures on Dolton Records becomes the first song ever using a fuzztone device on the guitar to enter the Billboard Singles Chart in the USA.
Bill Evans records Spartacus and Blue Monk for his Verve Records LP Conversations With Myself, in New York City, USA. The album uses what was then a controversial method of recording, by overdubbing three different yet corresponding piano tracks for each song.
Craig Breedlove, driving the jet-propelled three-wheeled vehicle Spirit Of America, sets a new world land speed record of 407.4mph at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA. His record-breaking feat is immortalised in The Beach Boys song Spirit Of America.
The Ford Motor Company takes the innovative step of offering 8-track music players as an option on all of their new vehicles.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience tape Hey Joe for the popular British TV show Ready, Steady Go! Watching that performance is effects wizard Roger Mayer, who’d already built custom fuzz boxes for Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, and would soon give Hendrix the Octavia octave-doubling device heard at the end of Purple Haze.
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From this date, Atlantic Records in the USA stops accepting returns of monaural discs from dealers. They had ceased production of mono records several months earlier.
At the Tinker Street Cinema, Woodstock, New York State, USA, Jimi Hendrix first uses his Uni-Vibe guitar effects unit.
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Popular German tv show Beat Club, hosted by Uschi Nerke, transmits its 50th edition, which is also the occasion of the show's switch from black and white to colour.
Queen’s ground-breaking Bohemian Rhapsody video is broadcast on UK tv show Top Of The Pops for the first time.
The new Billboard No1 R'n'B single in the USA is Ain't Nobody by Rufus with Chaka Khan.
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The videocassette The Making Of Michael Jackson's Thriller, goes on sale in the UK with advance orders of 80,000 units.
Russian cosmonauts take a cassette of the latest Pink Floyd album, Delicate Sound Of Thunder, aboard Soyuz 7 and play it in orbit, making Pink Floyd the first rock band to be played in space. Pink Floyd members David Gilmour and Nick Mason attend the launch of the spacecraft.
Paula Abdul releases Shut Up And Dance: Mixes, an album of re-mixes of the six hit singles from her debut album Forever Your Girl, plus one remixed album track and one medley.
Mariah Carey appears live by satellite on BBC1 tv show Top Of The Pops in the UK.
Mariah Carey's seven track mini-album, MTV Unplugged, becomes the first MiniDisc title to be manufactured for commercial release in the USA. (N.B. The actually release date will not be until December 7).
Brian Eno launches a new website to promote his upcoming album, Another Day On Earth.
British duo Hurts upload their amateur video for the song Wonderful Life to YouTube. Featuring a female dancer who had responded to an advert in a shop window and was paid
The government of France, Europe, passes legislation that would allow internet service providers to cut the internet connections of customers who download copyright-protected music and video files illegally after "three strikes".
Kodak announces the end of production of Kodachrome film, because demand for the product has declined. Paul Simon's song, Kodachrome, which appeared on his 1973 album There Goes Rhymin' Simon, included the line 'Mama, don't take my Kodachrome away'. Mama didn't but, on this day, Kodak did.
Beyonce releases a new single, Video Phone in the USA.
Jack Johnson releases a new album, To The Sea, on Island Records in the USA. The album was recorded in Johnson's native Hawaii using 100% solar power.
In what is claimed as a music and publishing industry first, singer and songwriter Kristin Hersh releases her new studio album, Crooked, as a book. The book contains full colour artwork, lyrics, exclusive essays by Hersh on each song and a digital code which unlocks online content.
A study by researchers at The University of Minnesota is published in the Journal Of Broadcast And Electronic Media, claiming to show that listening to rock music, [examples given include Bruce Springsteen and The White Stripes], can make white listeners favour white ethnic groups over other ethnic groups when sharing out funds. White students who were being played Top 40 pop - made by artists such as Gwen Stefani and Akon - distributed the funds more fairly among the other ethnic groups.
Canada's Supreme Court ends the collection [by Canada's performing rights society SOCAN] of fees for music downloaded via the internet. The court rules that downloading is merely a delivery mechanism, much like a courier, and does not justify a performance fee. The court states, however, that music streamed from a website constitutes a performance and therefore fees must continue to be paid.
Forbes magazine announces that with $110m in pre-tax earnings, Dr. Dre is now the biggest earner in Hip-Hop. Huge sales of his range of headphones, Beats By Dr. Dre, account for a significant chunk of his wealth.
Forbes magazine publishes its annual list of the most successful entertainers of the past year, with Dr. Dre in the top position. Most of his $110m is not because of his music but because of his top-selling Beats headphones brand. The full Top Ten list is as follows : 1. Dr Dre $110mrn2. Roger Waters $88mrn3. Elton John $80mrn4. U2 $78mrn5. Take That $69mrn6. Bon Jovi $60mrn7. Britney Spears $58mrn8. Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift (tie) $57mrn10. Justin Bieber and Toby Keith (tie) $55m
According to Official Charts Company sales data released by British music industry trade body, The BPI, sales of vinyl LPs are at a ten-year high. The figures also reveal that 3.7% of of vinyl buyers don't actually own a record player.
The title track from Michael Jackson's posthumous LP, Xscape, is leaked online in advance of the album, which is set for a May 13 release. However, it is quickly revealed that this is not the version of the track which will appear on the album.
According to research carried out by The Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, UK, the most recognisable pop song ever is announced as Wannabe by The Spice Girls. The complete Top 10, with the lengths of time required to recognise them, is as follows :

1. Spice Girls, Wannabe - 2.29 seconds
2. Lou Bega, Mambo No. 5 - 2.48 seconds
3. Survivor, Eye of the Tiger - 2.62 second
4. Lady Gaga, Just Dance - 2.66 seconds
5. Abba, SOS and Roy Orbison, Pretty Woman - 2.73 seconds
6. Michael Jackson, Beat It - 2.8 seconds
7. Whitney Houston, I Will Always Love You and The Human League, Don’t You Want Me - 2.83 seconds
8. Aerosmith, I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing - 2.84 seconds
9. Lady Gaga, Poker Face - 2.88 seconds
10. Hanson, Mmmmbop - 2.89 seconds
Robbie Williams releases a new album, Under The Radar Volume One excusively through his website. Variously described as a "surprise release" and "low-key", it features b-sides, demos and some tracks that failed to make official releases.
Via a handwritten note posted on her Facebook page, Bjork announces the imminent release of her new LP, Vulnicura.
Britney Spears (and her sons Jayden James and Sean) post a picture on Instagram in which they recreate her Oops... I Did It Again album cover from 2000.
Sir Paul McCartney Tweets the message "Happy New Year! May this year be a happy and peaceful one for you and your family and everyone around the world. Love Paul"
It is reported that Ed Sheeran has made streaming history by notching up a combined 13m global streams in the first 24 hours on sale of his single Shape Of You/Castle On The Hill. Shape Of You racked up 6,868,642 and Castle On The Hill accumulated 6,168,395, Ed has now overtaken the previous record holders, One Direction, who notched up 4,759,698 streams with Drag Me Down in August 2015.
In an Instagram posting, Taylor Swift announces that she will be voting for Democratic candidates in her home state of Tennessee in the next elections and calls on her fans to register and vote. The post will attract over 2m likes, and will cause spike in voter registrations.
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Powerful music business agency International Talent Booking (ITB) announces that fraudsters have been attempting to scam promoters by posing as representatives of Aerosmith and Pearl Jam. The would-be fraudsters have claimed, by e-mail, to be representing and booking Pearl Jam tours for 2015, and more recently an Aerosmith tour for 2016. In fact, both bands are represented by ITB.