A new television special, Soundies: A Musical History Hosted by Michael Feinstein, is scheduled to air on PBS March 8th. The program will explore a nearly forgotten piece of American musical history, the soundie.
Begun in 1941, soundies can be described as “musical jukeboxes.” For a dime inserted into a Panoram machine, a three-minute “music video” would play. Many of the soundies featured the greatest jazz, swing and big-band artists of the time. By the end of World War II, over 1,800 soundies had been created. Soundies would have a profound affect on the future of American music, most notably in the evolution of the music video.