Essay: Music and the Internet

Pages: 9 (3319 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Music  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] All of this in a device the size of a pack of cards."[footnoteRef:5] This fact can only help move us, music, and the digitalized transfer of music forward, as many download more and more, faster and faster, and as more technology is created, humanity thus advances. [5: Shane Richmond, 2011. Happy 10th birthday to the iPod - the little machine that changed our lives [online]. The Telegraph. Available at: < http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/8841331/Happy-10th-birthday-to-the-iPod-the-little-machine-that-changed-our-lives.html>. [Accessed 1 December 2011].]

6. This next article also talks about how Apple has truly revolutionized much technology, and focuses upon iTunes, the service that the company utilizes to enable its users to download music legally, at a small fee, from its program. The article discusses eight ways in which iTunes has changed music and its link to the internet, including:

Promoting singles over albums;

Album changes (i.e. changing song order or only downloading part of an album);

File sharing (which is controversial due to the potential inevitability of theft);

"Brick-and-Mortar Implosion" which means that, according to the article "record and video stores are fast-disappearing, as the new technologies make more and more content available online;"[footnoteRef:6] [6: All points and quotations taken from: Internet Service Providers Research. 2011. 8 Ways iTunes has Changed the Music Industry [online]. Available at: < http://www.internetserviceproviders.org/blog/2011/8-ways-itunes-has-changed-the-music-industry/>[Accessed 1 December 2011]. ]

Portability of devices;

Enabling radio on these devices and other such functions.

7. The next article is relatively recent and deals with Napster, the company that started the music on the internet craze in the late 1990's. This company has grown to great proportions even despite of various scandals, but even it has had to modernize or risk extinction, the latter of which has somewhat happened according to this article, as Napster has just been sold to Rhapsody, thus changing the original view of music and the internet. For instance, whereas Napster was created to allow users to download music directly, websites such as Rhapsody make automated playlists for users or allow them to buy music at small fees. The two organizations together, with the proper legal acumen, can still stay ahead of the digital music craze, however.[footnoteRef:7] [7: Julianne Pepitone, 2011. Today is Napster's last day of existence [online]. CNN Money. Available at: < http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/30/technology/napster_rhapsody/?source=cnn_bin>. [Accessed 1 December 2011].]

8. Perhaps this last article, again found through a research website, is the most pertinent for it relates clearly to the subject of this paper "How the Internet Has Changed Music." This article proves, beyond a doubt, that music is no longer what it used to be, and neither do we listen to music in the traditional way. Today, music is available almost everywhere in seconds, especially with an internet connection. Points in this article have been made throughout the rest of the articles above, which is why this article is mentioned last; however, one should not detract from its importance, for this article reiterates the most salient points of this discussion and is a fantastic research for a sum-up of previously made points.[footnoteRef:8] [8: Recording Connection Audio Institute. 2011. How the Internet Has Changed Music [online]. Available at: < http://www.recordingconnection.com/reference-library/recording-entrepreneurs/how-the-internet-has-changed-music-aug-2011>. [Accessed 1 December 2011]. ]

Discussion Section and Conclusions

Music is unifying. A song can speak to so many people. In fact, Bob Marley's "Africa Unite" sends the message that only music can unite a divided peoples. This may be true, at times, but it has not been proven. What is clear, both from the introduction presented above, as well as from the article section is that music is ever-evolving and ever-unifying for various populations, but also ever-changing with respect to how fast and how well one can get music. With different devices (iPhones, Blackberry, iPads) music can be downloaded almost instantly. As seen in all articles, many believe that, whether positive or negative, this is a great and important technological stride. Furthermore, this constitutes the change from music in the traditional medium in the home, on record players and even on CDs, to music on the internet, always available as long as one can have an internet connection.

There was a fantastic interview conducted by TIME magazine when this kind of technology was just getting popular. The article spoke about the success of bands such as Death Cab for Cutie, who went from obscurity to popularity because of the internet. This has been the same phenomenon as seen with Justin Bieber, who was also discovered on the internet. Both of these bands would not have reached even close to the same success if it had not been for the internet. Furthermore, they may not have even existed or been known as they are today.

To take the example of the band Death Cab for Cutie, the article describes the group as starting out playing empty clubs for perhaps $50 per night. After years of relative obscurity, however, the band started finding more and more fans were coming to see them play. What was the change? The internet, of course. All the new fans were telling the band that they had heard and bought their songs on the internet before Death Cab even had a website. Eventually, and due to these advancements, the band got a call from the show The O.C., and from then on, as they say, the rest is history. The whole story, as well as many more like it, are told in a book called Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music. In this book, Greg Kot talks about "the demise of the music industry, whether illegal file-sharing is really that bad and why there may never be another band as big as the Beatles."[footnoteRef:9] [9: Greg Kot, 2009. How the Internet Changed Music [online]. TIME. Available at: < http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1900054,00.html>. [Accessed 1 December 2011].]

This book is a fantastic resource due to the fact that it talks about the phenomenon of how music and the internet truly developed together and how this changed the music industry as a whole. In this book, Kot talks about the time when live music was threatened by recordings, whether records, tapes or CDs. Today, however, live music is threatened by the internet. This change, effectuated by the digital age, as well as by technology, truly revolutionized the industry and many argue for the best. However, as seen in the articles above, as well as in this book by Kot, there are arguments against this positiveness. Furthermore, even the Supreme Court has taken on this issue, as seen above, and has decided that really digitalized music is not the same as live music. Thus, the threat continues.

Kot further speaks about this constant threat of technological advancement, and how it has affected music. Every time something new comes out, people think that "live" music will die. Yet this is not true. Despite all the technological advancements today, people still go to shows and concerts to listen to music live, and people still buy music, rather than just download it illegally. Yet one big difference between music today and in the 1960's and 1970's, for instance, is the fact that, due to digitalization, music today is about business, rather than just about music. Thus, this could be a negative due to the fact that music today is of an inferior quality when compared to that a few decades ago. Yet one cannot say truly that technological advancements decreased desire for music; rather, they have promoted new kinds of music. This is, then, what one should focus on rather than the argument between positives and negatives.

The truth is, however, that "big band" music is rather over. Today, the artist is the front of the band, rather than the group as a whole. Furthermore, today, as always, the biggest problem is still "getting heard" because of the fact that most people stay indoors, rather than go out and seek entertainment. This is because people today often have various mediums for entertainment, including television and the internet.

However, with the advent of the internet and the placement of music on it, one must also realize that there are now more and more opportunities for business for the artist, starting from single downloads to merchandise such as t-shirts and such, all to be found online. Perhaps the greatest examples of online "merchandising" is American Idol, the show that is one of the most popular music-related shows in American television history. According to Kot, "…American Idol is as big as it gets when it comes to music. It's kind of like the last vestige of the old music industry. Clive Davis has a role in it -- he puts out a lot of the records those artists make after their Idol experience. What you were talking about earlier regarding the next big mainstream phenomenon -- right now, American Idol is the phenomenon. But it remains to be seen whether any of these artists will truly have a 10-year career."[footnoteRef:10] The truth is, probably, that no, these… [END OF PREVIEW]

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