Piano rolls became hugely popular at the turn of the 20th century. Composers and performers far and wide rushed to encode their performances onto continuous rolls of paper with punched in perforations. Initially, Sergei Rachmaninoff was highly skeptical that a roll of paper could provide an accurate record of his craft. Yet when he listened to his first recording in that medium, he is supposed to have remarked, “Gentlemen — I, Sergei Rachmaninoff, have just heard myself play!” As far as I know, the Rachmaninoff rolls are still available for sale; of course, you will have to buy the appropriate player piano first!

Rachmaninov plays Rachmaninov Op. 3, No. 1 (Piano Roll)