Technology has been changing the music industry continually for decades. In fact, the music industry was born from technological advancements. Without them, sound could never have been recorded. The music industry is a technology industry.
Here are some of the big ways tech has changed music, the way musicians record their songs, and how music fans listen to their favorite tunes.
Better Music Production
Technology has been improving music for centuries. You only have to turn the clock back 100 years to see the birth of one of music’s most influential instruments: the electric guitar.
Recording technology, and the media needed to distribute it to the masses, have all changed modern music and the industry that has grown around it. This century is no different from the ones that came before it.
The biggest developments have been in the studio where technology has changed the way music is recorded, sampled, and produced. Modern mixing desks have helped to speed up the recording process, and computer software lets engineers make subtle changes to a sound without the need for a new recording session.
Better Vocal Performances
The most difficult instrument to record and perform is the human voice. Singing is a massive part of the music industry, and an extremely profitable one. There are many solo singers selling millions of tracks, but very few solo guitarists selling instrumental recordings.
Technology has improved the quality of microphones allowing for clearer vocal recordings. Clever software like auto-tune has allowed recordings to be cleaned up and perfected without having a vocalist return to the booth and lay down a fresh take.
Even amateur vocalists and bands have been able to make use of this tech. With the help of an auto-tune subscription any singer or band can freshen up their vocal tracks and fix any minor imperfections to give themselves a professional quality sound.
This single most impactful change that technology has had on the music industry is how music is distributed and sold to fans across the world.
When music was first sold, it was on discs made from the secretions of lac bugs, called shellac. These records became popular very quickly as they were the only way to listen to recorded music. The discs were switched to vinyl in the second world war, not because they offered superior sound but because the cost of shellac skyrocketed because of its use in explosives.
As the decades rolled on, new formats came and went, from reel-to-reel tape to compact cassettes and discs. Then in the early 90s came the mp3 file format, and music changed forever. It took a little over ten years, but the mp3 and downloading music became the most popular way to listen to tracks.
Now, most music is downloaded in a variety of file formats. You can get lossless, studio-quality recordings beamed straight to your music-playing devices; music fans of the 1920s could only dream of such convenience.
Technology has made some massive changes to the music industry for performers, engineers, record companies, and fans. It will keep on making changes as the years go by.