As a leader in delivering connected audio experiences around the globe, we at HARMAN have a deep understanding of the influence music has on our lives. We have played a unique role in the history of the music industry, holding a special place at the heart of historical events and leading the way in transforming how people listen to their favorite songs and melodies. From the invention of the first radio to boomboxes, portable CD players, mp3 players and beyond – HARMAN has been there innovating every step of the way.
On November 23rd, we’re celebrating a device that transformed how people enjoyed music in restaurants and bars and is still bringing music into our lives in a unique way: the jukebox! While today’s touchscreen, digital jukeboxes look different than the coin-operated, turntable players from decades ago, the jukebox holds a significant place in the world’s musical history. In honor of National Jukebox Day, we’re taking a look back at some of our own notable musical milestones:
- 1953: Harman Kardon introduces the first FM tuner. After the invention of the original phonograph, nearly every household had some form of music or record player by the early 1900s. By the 1950s, the popularity of the phonograph gave way to the radio, and Harman Kardon made its mark with the FM tuner.
- 1958: Harman Kardon releases the world’s first stereo receiver. HARMAN continued to transform listening experiences with the debut of the stereo receiver, offering a new option to connect audio sources to more than one set of speakers.
- 1969: JBL powers the first of three Woodstock Musical Festivals. The original Woodstock festival cemented HARMAN and JBL as the top choice for live music performances, foreshadowing the success to come for HARMAN Professional Solutions.
- 1975: Becker launches the first car cassette radio. Music went on the move in 1975, as cassette tapes overtook vinyl records in popularity. With the first car cassette radio, drivers and passengers no longer had to rely on the radio to hear their favorite songs and could take their own album collection on the go.
- 1984: JBL makes their automotive debut in the Lincoln Town Car as the first branded car-audio system. HARMAN’s audio brands are still delivering clear, enhanced sound in some of the most popular and luxurious cars on the market today.
- 1999: Harman Kardon’s HK Soundsticks debut at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Featuring transparent materials and unparalleled sound quality, the HK soundsticks proved that stunning design and beautiful sound can go hand in hand.
- 2004: JBL is one of the first audio brands to release audio docks for Apple’s iPod. The arrival of Apple’s iPod gave listeners instant access to an infinite music catalog. In turn, JBL offered one of the first audio docks so users could play their music throughout their homes, unburdened by corded headphones.
- 2012: JBL Introduces the Flip portable speaker. The JBL Flip proved that compact Bluetooth speakers could provide clear, powerful audio without sacrificing on quality or portability. Now in its 6th iteration, the JBL Flip continues to be a crowd favorite.
- 2020: JBL enters the gaming world with the JBL Quantum Line, designed exclusively for gamers. Featuring JBL QuantumSURROUND™ sound technology, gamers are able to experience virtual worlds in new dimensions for an expert advantage over other competitors.
We’ve come a long way from the days of coin-operated jukeboxes and vinyl records, but one thing remains constant: the power of music to bring us together and help make memories that will last a lifetime. At HARMAN, we remain committed to designing and developing superior audio products that provide top-tier listening experiences for music-lovers of all kinds.