Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877. No one knows for sure who the very first recording artist was. Here is a look at an early recording artist I have in my collection.
The Metropolitan Quartet was a vocal quartet of men who performed in the New York City area in the years 1890 until about 1902. The group consisted of Robert J. Webb (first tenor), Peter J. Collins (second tenor), James J. Byrne (baritone), and Richard Schumm (bass). For several years they appeared at amateur light opera presentations, in minstrel shows and frequently as choir singers. The group became professional in 1895.
To listen to recordings of the Metropolitan Quartet, or other early recording artists, visit the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara.