Buckle your seatbelt. Check your mirrors. And of course, get your music set up for the ride. From old school stereos to advanced blue tooth connections, vehicles have been private music venues almost since their inception. For about as long as people have been driving, they’ve been singing on the road at the top of their lungs.

The First Notes

The first car radio system was created by brothers Paul and Joseph Galvin for their company, Galvin Manufacturing Corporation, in 1930. Although immediately successful, car radios at the time cost a pretty penny, coming in at a whopping $130 – around $1700 by today’s standards. What was once considered a risky distraction soon took off, leading to the sale of millions of the radios. Eventually, the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation would adapt its identity to reflect its success, and become the company we now call Motorola.

Getting in Tune

After 22 years of only AM radio available to drivers, a German company known as Blaupunkt introduced the world’s first FM car radio. Their innovation was quickly followed by an AM and FM capable radio just a year later. But in 1956, Chrysler changed the tune yet again with the creation of the in-car phonograph, known then as the Highway Hi-Fi that allowed drivers to play records on the road.

The Tunes Took Off

Once folks had the power to choose their tunes, the entire automotive world changed. The 1960s ushered in an era of cassette tapes, allowing drivers musical independence from the radio. The 80s and 90s were the era of the CD, featuring the wildly popular multi-disc set ups. Today, the possibilities are endless, as 2011 brought the advent of the first ever iOS capable in-dash system. From 1930 to 2011, in less than 100 years, the automotive world has completely changed its tune.

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