Dial-up music services and coin-operated jukeboxes are not 20th-century innovations. In 1894 the Théâtrophone, and its London equivalent the Electrophone, were the first commercial systems to deliver broadcasts of opera and other musical events over a web of aerial and subterranean telephone wires. Chéret’s poster depicts a fashionable Parisian, dressed for a night at the Opera, listening to five centimes’ worth of live music, in stereo, at one of the Théâtrophone’s public booths. Behind her a queue of other customers waiting for a turn recedes into the shadowy distance.
Gallery label from Making Music Modern: Design for Ear and Eye, November 15, 2014–January 17, 2016.