Effects of Technology on the Music Industry

  Music has been an essential part of human culture as an art, source of entertainment, and a way for those talented at the performing arts to make a living. The field of music similar to the field of journalism is one that has been rapidly growing and progressing with the introduction of quickly advancing technologies, and  the internet.

This has allowed for artists to quickly spread word about their work and get their music out to a global audience with ease due to websites such as Youtube, Spotify, Sound Cloud, Band Camp and other such music streaming websites.

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Even with all the benefits of being able gather a larger audience with ease this trend has also created an almost irreversible trend of music piracy. With the readiness and ease of being able to upload songs and spread them around it has created a trending mindset that music should always be free, and that an art that once made people a lot of money before is expected to be received for free.

This in a sense has almost disvalued music as an art, because now even if an artist spends thousands of their own dollars and time to produce and album that they will make little to nothing off the purchase of their CD’s/Downloads off of iTunes.

This trend has forced artists to find other means of making a living beyond simply just recording and releasing albums. In order to gain perspective on how this trend truly has affected the industry and artists alike you have to observe it through an artist’s eyes.

According to Dr. Bradley Deroche, who is a professional musician within the world of classical guitar and a music educator at Central Michigan University, this trend has had a significant impact on his career throughout his years of performing and working within the music industry.

While reflecting on the topic of struggles within the music industry due to file sharing Dr. Deroche made a significant point, He stated, “That expecting musicians to give their work away for free, how are they expected to make a living? It would be no different if I was a plumber or carpenter who came to work on your home and just did it for free. Who would support you then and how would you make a living?” This is a fear that many professional musicians share as the use of music streaming websites and music piracy continues to grow at a rapid rate.

 

 

A local band that plays often at the Tree Love Collective music night at L1 bar shared a similar opinion on the concept of file sharing and other effects that technology has had on the industry. They along with Dr. Deroche agreed that file sharing is a great way now for new and upcoming artists to get their work known but that it is a lot harder to stand out. They stated that how in a local college town market this is especially true.

As they have tried to advance their musical careers, one of the biggest challenges they have faced is trying to stand out in an over-saturated music market. Their methods of getting word out about their shows and albums they are working on is largely built on word of mouth and building a following who regularly will come out and see them at shows.

 

Even at the retail end of the spectrum technology has had a huge impact. “Things such as amps, pedals, synthesizers and other equipment has vastly improved in the last few years,” said B’s Music Shop employee Austin Wirgau. Wirgau works in the only local music shop in Mt. Pleasant. He went on to further elaborate how websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube have helped their business vastly.

B’s Music Shop has a Facebook page that is updated regularly. https://www.facebook.com/bsmusicshop/timeline They also provide through YouTube a way to help advertise their guitar lessons, by recording the instructors playing and upload them online. Therefore the students are able to get a feel for the instructors playing style and get an idea if it would be what they are looking for.

The music industry is an ever evolving industry that will continue to evolve as long as technology continues at its current rate. As with all professions that have been impacted by technology,  positively or negatively, there is only one thing we have ever been able to do. Change does not stop, evolve and adapt. The industry may be much different then 20-30-100 years ago but one thing is for certain that music will always play an important role in our culture.

Support your local musicians!

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Related Articles: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/the-new-economics-of-the-music-industry-20111025

http://www.theverge.com/2012/11/9/3623656/state-of-music-industry-technology

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/06/12/rock-and-roll-economics-and-rebuilding-middle-class

http://www.berklee.edu/bt/153/technology.html