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From Vinyl to MP3: The journey of music

If something has put Charles Darwin’s theory of survival-of-the-fittest to the real test it’s the harsh music climate today. We’ve come a long way from selling mixtapes at local clubs to selling music online via various platforms.  Technology today has allowed for a fusion of aural, visual and dramatic means of expression to be fused together to give the best overall experience to the end users. As methods of music consumption evolve, the technology needed to use it inevitably follows suit in order to fulfil the consumers’ needs. At a point in time streaming services had tons of litigations pending against them but now these services are the largest revenue generators for the music industry.

One of the major changes that have been brought about due to a change in the pattern of music consumption is the elimination of multiple devices to listen to music. Phone companies across have created/allowed platforms to stream music directly on the user’s phone. Some companies have gone even further to develop headphones which can hold and stream music as stand-alone devices. But this is not it. The evolution of music has also affected the automobile sector. Every car stereo is now Bluetooth enabled to allow direct streaming of music via mobile phones. In fact researchers have said that in the years to come cars too will evolve further thus allowing direct streaming of music.

The technological evolution of this industry has affected an integral aspect of music compositions and performance. Paper! It seems a distant memory when conductors used to purchase loads of sheet music for a single sheet. In fact technology has also decentralized music teaching. Everything can be learnt right from you laptop or mobile via online modules. Software’s such as MusicNotes have been major industry leaders. They’ve basically taken our favorite songs and digitized them to downloadable sheet music.

Cost of production and manufacturing have gone down drastically and likely will continue to do so. The cost to push a song to the iTunes store is nothing compared to the manufacturing cost of a CD. Promotion can also be done instantly through digital media as opposed to renting billboards and printing up flyers. Musicians are hence able to reach out to directly to their target audience without unnecessary influence of a third party. From DAWs to synthesizers, to social media and music streaming services: the availability of these technologies finally takes music out of the hands of record labels and into the hands of the musicians, with the new challenge of how to be profitable.

So what is the way forward?

Well, necessity has brought change so far and will continue to drive change in the industry. More and more music is now being produced ad listened to than yesterday and the trend is not likely to stop.  It’s up to musicians to decide the best way to get their music out there and earn money doing it. So the future of the music industry will depend on where the money takes us, ultimately leading to the new technology to get us there.Only time will tell what will happen to the industry.