DEVELOPMENTS IN MUSIC TECHNOLOGY: HYBRID ACTIVITY IN POPULAR MUSIC

Jeremy Wade Morris

Abstract


The most critical [issues] to which we should turn our attention are those that have consequences for the movement of music within and through different (and sometimes altogether new) spaces, such as changes in sales mechanisms, Internet broadcasting, the use of computers for producing, consuming and distributing music, and the personalisation of musical tastes and behaviours. (Jones, “Musicand the Internet” 225) Since the invention of recorded sound, music and the technology with which it is recorded have been entwined. From the phonograph to the mp3, the history of popular music production, distribution and consumption in the twentieth century is one marked by various technological innovations (see for example Coleman, 2003; Garofalo, 1999). Currently, new digital recording technologies are facilitating changes to the music making process (Théberge, 1997). Sophisticated software programs such as ProTools and Nuendo offer near-professional song recording, mixing and mastering abilities while Reason, Acid, plus a host of other programs encourage the manipulation of original or sample-based sounds. Innovations in the technologies of consumption are causing similar impacts to the listening process (Bull, 2000). Digital jukeboxes, mp3 players and new business models from the likes of iTunes and Napster 2.0 are affecting the way we receive and use music. In many ways, the processes associated with production and consumption are currently converging into one machine: the computer.

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