Running Head: how Technology has Changed Music

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Over the past century, the advancement of technology has changed our world in many ways. It has changed our communication, transportation, medication, filtration, sanitation, and many other big things, but there are small things that technology has changed in tremendous ways that a lot of people never think about. One of them is music. Technology has profoundly changed music. It has changed the way music is fabricated, the character of music, the way we listen to music, and how artists become known.

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First and foremost, technology has changed the way music is fabricated. In the early 1900’s, music was simple—just a beautiful voice and some instruments. “Over the Rainbow,” sung by Judy Garland with Victor Young and his orchestra, was recorded in 1938. This song is simply her voice and the orchestra lightly playing in the background. Today, music can be produced by pushing a few buttons. A single person can create the sound of an entire band with current technology. To add more texture in the mid-1900s, the band would add more instruments, or the singers would add more harmonies to their song. Now, artists like Charlie Puth create completely new sounds with a sound board or harmonize themselves by layering multiple recordings to texture their songs. Two examples that can be compared are The Chords’s song “Sh-Boom” and Charlie Puth’s song “Done for Me.” Also, many artists today use autotune to fix pitch and vocal issues. Before autotune, artists just had to sing in tune. Second, technology has changed the character of music. Artists’ focus used to be solely on the message of the song. While there are still artists who focus on this, many artists are more focused on the sound of the song. A lot of current music is based on how good the beats sound and not centered on the words and the meaning of the song. As a result of this, DJs are now considered artists. DJs like The Chainsmokers, Marshmello, Calvin Harris, Diplo, and more are featured with many singer-artists in their songs.

Third, technology has changed the way we listen to music. In the late 1880’s people listened to music live, used a phonograph, or (later) used a gramophone. Throughout the 1900s, records, cassette tapes, CDs, and mp3 players were used. During the first ten years of the 2000s, CDs and mp3 players were still common, but iPods and streaming apps were becoming more popular. Currently, the most common way to listen to music is by streaming it. Many people use Apple Music or Spotify, but YouTube, Pandora, are Google Play are other common ways to stream music. We have billions of songs at our fingertips. 275.66 million Americans have smart phones, and 60 million Americans have at least one smart speaker in their home. With these devices, music can be played in a matter of seconds.

Finally, technology has changed how artists become known. During the 1900s, the only effective way to get your name into the world as an artist was to be signed to a record label. It is no longer that way today. For the past twenty years, big social media platforms have been created such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and twitter. These platforms have given artists the opportunity to become known with no help from a huge record label. Justin Bieber, for example, was discovered and became popular by uploading videos of him singing song covers on YouTube. More recently, up and coming artists have been using a newer app called TikTok to be discovered. On this app, people all over the world post short videos—no longer than one minute—for entertainment. This app has been working perfectly for self-made artists. One reason is because this generation has short attention spans. TikTok allows artists to showcase their music in short clips, and it leaves listeners on a cliff hanger craving more of their music. Also, Apple Music and Spotify have recently been letting anyone upload their music for people to download. This has also helped fresh artists get their music out into the world.

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Running Head: How Technology Has Changed Music. (2022, Jul 02). Retrieved February 2, 2023 , from

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