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A jukebox is a partially automated music-playing device, usually a coin-operated machine, that can play specially selected songs from self-contained media. The traditional jukebox is rather large with a rounded top and has colored neon tubing going up the front of the machine on its vertical sides. The classic jukebox has buttons with letters and numbers on them that, when combined, are used to indicate a specifically coded song from a particular album.


The ancestor of the jukebox, called the "Coin-slot phonograph", was the first medium of sound recording encountered by the general public, before mass produced home audio equipment became common. Such machines began to be mass produced in 1889, using phonograph cylinders for records. The earliest machines played but a single record (of about 2 minutes of music or entertainment), but soon devices were developed that allowed customers to choose between multiple records. In the 1910s the cylinder was superseded by the analogue disc record. The term "juke box" came into use in the United States in the 1930s, derived from African-American slang "jook" meaning "dance". The shellac 78rpm record dominated jukeboxes until the late 1940s, when it in turn became superseded by the 45 rpm vinyl record.

Starting in the 1980s, compact discs became the norm for modern jukeboxes.

Jukeboxes and their ancestors were a very profitable industry from the 1890s on. They were most popular from the 1940s through the mid-1960s, particularly during the 1950s. Today they are often associated with early rock and roll music, but were very popular in the swing music era as well.

Jukebox is also the name of an album released by jazz musician Jamaaladeen Tacuma. See Jukebox (album).

There are also jukebox which serve as mass storage devices. They typically use Magneto-optical disc or Magnetic tape media, contain more than one drive and are attached over a computer network. One example is the HP SureStore family.