The first edition of Billboard was published today in 1894

November 1, 2017

William Donaldson and James H. Hennegan

published their first edition of Billboard 

on November 1, 1894.

"A monthly resume of all that is new,

bright and interesting on the boards."

The eight page magazine

was "devoted to the interests of advertisers, poster printers, bill posters, advertising agents & secretaries of fairs."

Billboard later began reporting on circuses, carnivals, vaudeville and other forms of live entertainment before focusing on motion pictures and later still, the music industry.

The cost of the initial publication

was 10 cents or 90 cents a year. 

Billboard is also known for its music charts,

including the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard 200,

tracking the most popular singles 

and albums in different genres.

Billboard also hosts events, owns a publishing firm,

and operates several TV shows. 

Donaldson later acquired Hennegen's interest in 1900 for $500.

In the early years of the 20th century,

Billboard covered the entertainment industry,

such as circuses, fairs, and burlesque shows.

Billboard also created

a mail service for traveling entertainers. 

Billboard began focusing more on the music industry as the jukebox, phonograph, and radio became commonplace.

Many topics Billboard covered

were spun-off into different magazines,

including Amusement Business in 1961

to cover outdoor entertainment,

so that it could focus on music.

After Donaldson died in 1925, 

Billboard was passed down to his children

and Hennegan's children,

until it was sold to private investors in 1985,

and has since been owned by various parties.

 

 

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