The changing music industry…good or bad?

By Bryn Keeney

The music industry is a diverse industry, especially today. There are new ways to do everything in the industry from making music to listening to it because of the technological advances we have made. Though these advances are good, they also have negative effects on how music is sold and how it is made, as well as how we communicate.

The way music is made has changed dramatically since the music industry first started. It used to be all about the artists’ talent and what they brought to the table. Now we have editing technology to perfect pitch, allowing artists to make their voices sound completely different, according to information on the Ronald Shannon Jackson website. Technology can even replace band members! You no longer need a guitar player, bass player, drummer, or singer. Now you can just be a singer and add all the other instruments in later through technology. All of these technological advances make it easier for aspiring artists to enter the music industry, but it also takes away from those who have tremendous talent and do not need all of the editing to make them sound better. Nor do the talented artists need an audio version playing at live concerts so that they can lip-synch. Concerts are now all about the performance rather than the talent and the music itself. 

When music was all about the talent the musicians had, music and record stores were the place to get your music. You could go in and pick out any record you wanted and you had the album art and everything with it. Now we no longer go out to get our music; instead, we use streaming apps like Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora. This is great for the consumer because there are options within these apps to not pay for the music you listen to. Instead, you hear ads and can only shuffle play music rather than picking a song yourself. This, however, means that the artist and musicians are not making as much money for their music because not everyone is paying to listen to it. In fact, this has caused the music industry profit to decrease by 60% in the last 20 years, according to Derek Thompson of the Atlantic Media Company. Would you want to work without getting paid?

These streaming apps not only affect the profits these musicians make but also the way people communicate on a day-to-day basis. For example, the invention of headphones and earbuds allows people to listen to music no matter where they are without bothering those around them. However, this also means that people are not speaking face-to-face with those around them when they have earbuds in. Earbuds have become a way of avoiding awkward small talk with those in the elevator with you as well as a signal not to talk to that person with earbuds in. Instead of waiting at the bus stop and talking to the kids waiting with you, some kids just ignore the others and listen to their music. Before earbuds, this was not the case, and communication and small talk were not looked at as something to dread but a fun way to meet new people and discover new ideas. 

Are all of the technological advances a good thing? Or are they taking away from the talent of the music industry? And does the invention of things like earbuds affect the way society communicates on a daily basis? The editing advances allow for more diverse music and musical sound. But do they allow just about anybody to become an artist if they want to? And is it fair to the artists making the music if society isn’t always paying to listen to it? These streaming apps take away from the musician’s revenue and hard work that they put into the music and albums that they release. And are these streaming apps also making it easier to avoid small talk by simply putting earbuds in?

Categories: Art & Entertainment, Art, Entertainment, & Lifestyle, Commentary

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