Today, technology and music go hand in hand. Because of technology, the way we use music has changed dramatically. Rewinding cassettes, pushing multiple MP3 buttons, or lugging around CDs for your Walkman are all things of the past.
The music industry, like technology, is always growing. Let’s look at how technology and music have changed over just the past 15 years.
Accessibility of Music
You no longer have to log into a computer to sync the latest release to your playlist. Nor is it necessary to spend an evening labeling your CD sleeves. Consumers have a wealth of music at their fingertips with streaming websites like Apple Music, Spotify, Youtube Music, and Deezer.
It’s not just physical soundtracks that have seen a drop in sales. Fans no longer have to wait for the chart show to release a song for the first time. In actuality, they don’t have to wait at all to hear an artist’s current tune.
According to recent research, roughly 840,000 15- to 24-year-olds have turned off their favorite radio stations permanently since 2010. There’s no need to tune in anymore. Fans can now discover the artist’s most recent release on their social media accounts or their streaming service profile.
Similarly, the BBC stated that 15- to 34-year-olds listened to streaming services more than all BBC’s radio services put together. They indicated this was true for the first time in December of 2017.
Technology and Music Promotion
In the past, artists would appear on programs to promote their new music. These included shows like Top of the Pops and chart shows. In addition, there would be promotional ads in magazines and newspapers as late as the early 2000s.
Now, because of technology, musicians promote their music through social media posts or viral videos. With the introduction of digital marketing, social media, and YouTube, musicians have been able to emerge on consumer playlists.
Take, for example, Canadian YouTube celebrity Justin Bieber. Soon after being discovered by a talent scout through his YouTube account in 2008, Bieber signed with a record company. In just a few years, Bieber rose to become one of the most popular singers in the world.
Additionally, fans may get up close and personal with their favorite celebrities thanks to social media. Apps like Instagram and Snapchat give fans a behind-the-scenes view of the lives of celebrities and musicians. They might see things like sneak peeks of future tracks, studio recordings, and tour updates.
Artists now also have more influence over how and when their music is released. Furthermore, they have better control over the distribution of their material to audiences.
Piracy, Technology, and Music
The way we find and listen to music has launched the music industry into the modern world. However, the powerful presence of technology in the music industry has also introduced an element of difficulty. One example is piracy.
As a result of piracy, artists and businesses lose millions of dollars in revenue. According to recent annual research, visits to music piracy sites worldwide increased dramatically to 73.9 billion. In the United States, there are more than 27.9 billion visits to unauthorized music sites.
As a result, the United States has emerged as the most prevalent location for music piracy.
Napster was created by two teens over 20 years ago, allowing users to freely trade songs without any accountability. In the first few months, the service spread like wildfire, racking up 20 million members. Napster is often recognized as one of the first in illegal music downloading.
Artists like Dr. Dre and Metallica spoke out against the app for stealing artists’ work and giving it away free. Since Napster, piracy sites like Kazaa, Limewire, BitTorrent, and others have exploded in popularity. However, new laws and music streaming sites are making piracy much more difficult.
Cher’s best-selling song “Believe,” released in 1998, was the first to use auto-tune, and it revolutionized pop music. Auto-tuning had previously been used by German pioneers ABBA and Kraftwerk to subtly modify pitches and portions of their songs. However, Cher’s track swept the industry and was the apex moment, giving listeners a whole new sound.
Auto-tune allows musicians the power to distort their voices and create a completely new sound. The rapper T-Pain is known for his usage of auto-tune, earning him the moniker “the T-Pain effect.”
Artists like Daft Punk, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, The Black Eyed Peas, and others were influenced by this audio-altering phenomenon. Additionally, the technology allowed them to introduce their listeners to new genres and styles.
Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels; Thank you!