Before magnetic tape was invented, recordings were live performances etched into the grooves of records, and they couldn't be corrected if there were errors; musicians had to start from the beginnning. With tape, musicians and producers had the ability to manipulate the recording by making corrections or even adding effects to make the record sound better. Although this made records sound less "life-like," magnetic tape made recording so much easier that it quickly became the standard method of recording.
This video is part of a lesson plan called Moving Faster Than the Imagination: The Evolution of Sound Recording. Find more resources in the Soundbreaking collection.