A Long Boom Before the Bust
Higher wages, a shorter work week and easy credit terms resulted in increased profits for the music industry from 1910 to 1929. It was a period of great optimism.
Music was enormously popular. Everyone wanted a player piano or phonograph for home entertainment. Musical instrument sales soared as the dance craze and silent films created a need for thousands of theater organs, bands and orchestras. Patriotic songs kept morale high during World War I, and the energy of jazz helped drive the “Roaring Twenties.”
But as the 1920s ended, “talkies” had put musicians out of work in the movie theaters, and the electric radio had dealt a deadly blow to the player piano industry. The final shock came in 1929 when the stock market crashed, pushing many in the music industry into ruin.
By 1920, most homes were electrified.
Phonographs were so popular that almost fifty manufacturers worked to supply the demand.
Player piano sales fell from more than 200,000 units in 1923, to only 18,000 units by the end of 1929.