The early wax cylinder records were sold in a cardboard cylinder with a cardboard lid placed on each end. The appearance of the container, along with the tinny sound of the playback, led John Philip Sousa to deride the new technology as "canned music". Even if it was canned, it didn't stop Sousa and others from “jumping on the bandwagon” and having their music recorded.
When Edison invented the phonograph, his recording medium was tinfoil wrapped around a cylinder, but this proved too fragile for everyday use. Early beeswax and paraffin cylinders would wear out after a few plays, so early phonographs included a device for shaving the used cylinders smooth so they could be used to make another temporary recording. The “record industry” took off when carnauba wax was incorporated into the cylinders, making them hard enough that eventually, records could be played more than 100 times.
Recording artists could be difficult for record company executives from the very beginning. A dedicated baseball fan, Billy Murray was known to call in sick so he could skip recording sessions and see the New York Highlanders (Yankees) play. Opera star Enrico Caruso was such a genius at self promotion that his reputation as a singer is still with us, even though he was gone even before the radio era. Arthur Collins and Byron G. Harlan specialized in what they called “coon songs”, following a audio version of the black faced minstrel shows. Harry Macdonough recorded for several labels, including Edison, Michigan Electric and Victor, then went on to become an executive in charge of artists and repertoire and later technical development at Victor and Columbia.