The Edison Monthly, September, 1912, pages 130-131:
Opera by Wire
MUSIC at the throw of the switch! Just as he presses the button to call a messenger, turns a wheel to heat his apartment, or pulls a cord to flood his room with light, Mr Knickerbocker now obtains his music by switching on a line that connects his parlor phonograph with the record in a central station many blocks away. He listens as long as he will, and, when ready, shuts off the flow of music as simply as he had started it. He enjoys the entertainment in the privacy of his own home, yet he may be one of an audience of more than a hundred.
All this has been made possible by the recent granting of a franchise to The New York Magnaphone and Music Company, permitting the installation of lines to bring its service to various buildings in the Riverside section of Manhattan.
Twenty-five years ago Edward Bellamy published his famous "Looking Backward." It was a story of economic conditions as they may be in 2000 A D. Incidentally reference was made to some of the inventions that had been perfected. One of these was a method of transmitting music over wires, thus bringing entertainment into the homes, and, except that the Magnaphone music is reproduced from a phonographic record while that of the story-teller was the actual voice of the singer, the plan of to-day and the visionary plan of 2000 A D are identical.
In the Music Exchange at Broadway and West 111th Street the records are placed on motor-driven revolving discs, the wires are plugged in at a switchboard, and the entertainment begins. Each record sends to 100 instruments in as many places, and all that is necessary, if the subscriber desires to hear a particular selection, is to turn his switch at the scheduled time. It makes no difference whether there be an audience of one or a hundred, the music is just the same.
There is a different program each week, and each selection is scheduled for a certain exact time. For instance, the news of the day, baseball scores, and cable messages from all parts of the world, are reported on the even hour, and then every seven minutes at its scheduled time a musical selection is rendered.
This method of entertainment, while new in this city, has been tried out in Wilmington. Delaware, where the lines of one of the telephone companies are used. In New York, however, the Magnaphone Company maintains its own lines, laying them in conduits under the surface of the street.