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Toss one down! Groovy beer bottle plays music

A curious marketing stunt results in a musical beer bottle capable of emitting noise when played on a record player originally invented more than a century ago.

Ad agency Shine Limited claims this is the world's first playable music beer bottle.
Shine Limited

Aside from delivering liquid courage or serving as an impromptu weapon, what can your beer bottle do for you? As far as we know, nothing you drink out of compares with the Edison Bottle -- a beer bottle inscribed with New Zealand indie rock band Ghost Wave's latest single "Here She Comes."

The Edison Bottle, created in collaboration with creative agency Shine Limited and Beck's Record Label project, contains a fully playable 3-minute, 23-second song etched onto a Beck's beer bottle. The project required around 600 hours of research and development.

A closer look at the grooves on a normal record (left), and the Edison Bottle (right). Shine Limited

Precisely inscribing record-quality grooves onto glass requires incredible accuracy, so the tinkerers at model and effects company Gyro Constructivists designed a special lathe powered by a hard-drive recording head. During development, Gyro also reinvented the century-old cylinder phonograph (record player) with modern electronic components. Watch the musical bottle debut to curious onlookers in New Zealand, or scroll down to watch a more in-depth video about how Gyro created the bottle.

For those of you wondering what Edison -- yes, the famous inventor Thomas Edison -- has to do with a musical beer bottle, well, he inadvertently invented the only device capable of playing such an exotic (and tasty) record.

Before the conventional disc-shaped record player became prominent in the early 1900's, Edison, knee deep in acoustic research, spent a great deal of his time trying to boost sales of his music player called the phonograph. The device played cylinders inscribed with several minutes of music. Despite selling musical cylinders for decades and gradually improving the quality of the medium, the format didn't last.

Aside from competitors flaking out and abandoning cylinders, Victor Records, a huge music label at the time, courted major artists with exclusive contracts to create disc records, which led Edison to eventually concede and focus on disc records and players. Read more about the short history of Edison's music cylinders at a special Web site hosted by the Library of Congress.