The fleet's afloat
Prior to radio, songs were largely heard performed in music halls. People would then visit music shops to purchase the sheet music of tunes they liked. Many homes had a piano, and at least one member of the family knew how to play it, providing a common form of entertainment and socialization. Music shop owners would often employ a pianist to perform during business hours so customers could hear the sheet music played live. If a song was particularly popular, it would then be recorded by professional musicians.