Telephone Music Service: Music Streaming’s Pittsburgh Predecessor

Dotti White oversaw Telephone Music Service, which streamed music into Pittsburgh bars long before the days of the Internet.

(via Pittsburgh Magazine) by Zack Furness

Years before anyone dreamed up the Internet, owned smartphones or casually used phrases such as “music platform,” Pittsburgh’s Telephone Music Service pioneered one of the first successful streaming music services in the country.

The service, which dates back decades, operated a network of jukeboxes scattered throughout bars in the city, all of which were connected to a central studio by telephone lines.

You’d stick your money into the machine, pick up a phone attached to the side, and request your songs from one of the operators on the other end. Then, presto! Your selections would come blaring out through the jukebox.

While this may seem like ancient analog history, it was a functional predecessor of every Internet-based service that millions now use to stream audio content on demand. Dotti White may not be familiar with some of these digital brand names or their ubiquitous applications, but, as owner of Telephone Music Service, she was the last person to operate the business they now echo…

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