09/20 2017

Digital Music: Has it Changed the Industry?

“Without music, life is a journey through a desert.”

If you asked random people around the world if that quote was true, I’m certain that the majority, if not the entirety of the group of people asked, would agree that statement was true. Music is able to fill empty spaces, it unites complete strangers, it provokes so many emotions within us that it can even make a sad day turn into a happy day. That has been true since the beginning of time and will continue far into the future. It’s no surprise then that the music industry is a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide.

With such success, the amount of changes that have taken place over the years to keep up with a growing industry has been astounding. The days of pulling a record out of its sleeve and placing the needle gently on top has been replaced by the tape cassette that was then phased out by compact discs. Today, we’ve taken the digital music from a CD and now have the ability to directly download a song onto whatever portable device we own without ever having to touch a CD again.

Digital music has certainly revolutionized the music industry. The process of how one can receive new music and listen to it, has changed to mere moments of a few finger motions on an iPhone. The access the consumer has to the artist, is almost a direct link and fans love Today the music industry cares a lot more about the number of downloads, views, and streams a song has compared to a decade ago where those terms weren’t as prevalent as they are today. No more driving to a mall, no more searching through an entire store for that one CD or vinyl just so you can wait in line to pay before heading home to listen to your new purchase. Every big name label and artist has made sure their music is readily available at all times in all parts of the world for the eager fan to purchase without a seconds hesitation.

With such a drastic change from hard copy items, like records and cds to downloads and streams, is there a downside to the industry going completely digital? If you were to ask your local coffee drinking, tattoo wearing, bearded millennial, he may share sentiments of disapproval because “the sound of the music isn’t the same” without playing it through a vinyl record. Your local barista wouldn’t be completely off base either because vinyl records are what you call analog format, and this is the closest you can get to what the artist truly intended before a song is digitally converted. When you hear people talk about the warmth of a song played through a record player, it’s based on how much more real the music does sound compared to what is lost during the conversion from analog to digital. This progression of digital music also asks the question, what happens in a decade or two when certain streaming services no longer have that one song you heard back in college you loved? You never bought the CD and now all you have is a faint memory of the song that made that moment in your life so special. That may well be the biggest tragedy of all.

Technology has revolutionized the music industry time and time again and will continue to do just that. The point should always be to turn the volume up and listen to the song that excites emotions within you! Digital or analog, vinyl or MP3, music is powerful and that power was meant for us to enjoy. Let it run through you, let it inspire you and let it change how you see the world.

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