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Thread: Digital Music & Technology

  1. #1
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    Default Digital Music & Technology

    What does everybody reckon to the digital music revolution? Does it suck, or do you think it is helping to save the music industry?

    One thing for sure is that the whole music industry has gradually been turned upside down since the advent of the MP3 and MPEG files. Up until the late 90's, shopping for music or "pop picking" was considered an art form. Music fans used to literally camp outside the front of their favourite record shops to celebrate the release of the latest album by top acts so that they could be among the first to purchase them.

    Once MP3 files kicked in and sites like MP3.com started up, the whole industry went nuts. People could buy MP3 players and walkmans that could store up more albums than a C-60 or C-90 cassette walkman could ever hope to do. MP3 files didn't warp or scratch through mishandling. Many musicians who couldn't get commercial radio airplay or gigs anywhere suddenly struck it big by being able to record and release their own singles and albums in the comfort of their own homes, and acts like Sandi Thom proved that you didn't have to pack out football stadiums in order to get a major hit song.

    In 2003, iTunes came on the scene beating Yahoo! Music Launch to start the world's biggest online music store ever. Now, everyone could buy a single or a couple of album tracks by any artist they wanted be it a major label star or a budding star, or even a garage geek on an obscure independent label. Digital downloads superceded physical music in the top 40 around 2005 - 2007 with artists like Gnarls Barkeley and Mika scoring massive No.1 hits from downloads alone.

    On the other side, digital music has caused the music world to suffer badly. We've all but lost the art of pop picking today with most physical music only being available to buy through ebay, and the Generation Xers and Baby Boomers missing being able to buy records on the formats they grew up with and loved.

    The major record companies have lost a lot of artists and competition. In 1998 we had six major players in the music industry: EMI, PolyGram, Sony Music, BMG Music, Warner Music, and Universal Music. Today, only three are still standing: Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music. Universal is at the top of the chain having bought out PolyGram in 1999 and EMI in 2013.

    The mistreatment of artists by the major labels as well as putting profits before people has also led to a general mistrust of them.

    So, where does the future lie? IMHO, sometimes in order to move forwards and prosper means to take some steps back.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Digital Music & Technology

    As a teenager I used to love nothing better than visiting independent record shops or going to record fairs and buying vinyl albums/singles.

    However I download everything now (unless it's a band I'm a massive fan of, in which case I might also get the CD or vinyl versions) - and in truth I couldn't really care less about what it means to the music world. Bands make their money from touring these days, and record companies have ripped fans and artists off for years.

    All I know is it's cheaper to download, you get your music in seconds, and you can store it on your laptop and MP3/Ipod, so it saves room in your house!

    Hate itunes though, it's a horrible site and I avoid it at all costs. I use Amazon and have also used Play.com and will continue to do so.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Digital Music & Technology

    Both ways have their ups and downs, but the way it is now I think is better.

    Back before MP3's were around you could buy a single that was super inflated in price, or buy the album for a little bit more and get a whole bunch of other tracks. Sometimes these albums would be chock full of hits, and the records that didn't make single status were just as good. However, normally you'd end up with the one good song and the rest was filler. Artists knew they could get away with doing this and they abused it. The way the system worked made for lazy albums.

    Fast forward to now and you can totally be picky. You can listen to everything online and decide if you want to drop the money for the music. Album not great? Then they lose a sale. As it should be, if you're not delivering then you shouldn't be taking home the pay check. It makes the artist work harder at putting out a complete product.

    Also, the way music is delivered now means anyone can do it. Of course that means there's a lot of cr*p on the market, but it also means that artists that have talent have a platform to work from without having to result to selling their souls to the big record companies. In fact I think one of the big bands over the last few years had a bit of a spat with how their records were priced and basically straight up told these fans to pirate their music, even as far as giving the fans links to get their material. It might not have put money in his bands pocket for this individual to take this action, but it sure won him a lot of kudos with music lovers basically being ordered to give the greedy record company the two fingered salute.

    The downsides are that were losing an art. Not just the cover art that had a tangible weight to it in your hands, with a lyric book and some in cover art. In fact one rubbish band I forget the name of during the 00's made a profound statement and on one of their albums the album art read "NO COVER ART" which I think at the time got sneered at. I feel if it was done by a band that was critically more well received it'd have gone down as one of the iconic covers. It's a shame it'll probably be forgotten.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Digital Music & Technology

    I have never trusted downloads for the simple reason I find them too easy to loose.I still prefer to have a package including cover art and something that I can actually hold in my hands.The same goes for films.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Digital Music & Technology

    oh your so right there mate.

    ill use youtube to listen to tons of old songs that are now very hard to find on cassette vinyl etc.

    But given the choice ill alwas prefer music its original format records,casette etc.
    music on Vinyl sounds the best to me.






    Quote Originally Posted by battyrat View Post
    I have never trusted downloads for the simple reason I find them too easy to loose.I still prefer to have a package including cover art and something that I can actually hold in my hands.The same goes for films.
    THUNDER THUNDER THUNDER THUNDERCATS HO

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Digital Music & Technology

    Vinyl was a nightmare to store, cassettes were always getting chewed up, i like and still buy CD's but my last couple of albums have been mp3 downloads and i think most of my future purchases will be in this form, i would miss having the physical object and artwork but practicality wins out.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Digital Music & Technology

    I've got mixed feelings about digital music.

    I've not got that much into downloading, though I have an iPod with all the tracks from my CDs on it. I like being able to put together playlists from different sources in a particular order. This was hard to do with tapes if I wanted to add a song in the middle. I still have a Minidisc player which was more flexible, but even the later machines could only record 4 CD's worth of music on.

    I still tend to order CDs online, buying them in shops when they are available at a decent price. With a lot of CDs I've managed to find a hidden gem of a song, often one that somehow escaped the notice of the record buying pubic and / A&R personnel / oldies radio station playlisters....

    The only major downloading was to get all of Kraftwerk's best songs, without having to buy all the albums.

    I can understand why downloading singles became popular, after a few years of new releases being publicised for weeks before released to insure a high chart entry things began to get silly.
    The Trickster On The Roof

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Digital Music & Technology

    if space is an issue then downloading is probably better.
    but its not good for the artist though.

    but ill always buy casettes or vinyl if possible.
    also cd's.
    but would never download.

    Quote Originally Posted by sweep View Post
    Vinyl was a nightmare to store, cassettes were always getting chewed up, i like and still buy CD's but my last couple of albums have been mp3 downloads and i think most of my future purchases will be in this form, i would miss having the physical object and artwork but practicality wins out.
    THUNDER THUNDER THUNDER THUNDERCATS HO

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Digital Music & Technology

    I think they can happily exist side by side.
    I download a lot of music, but I still buy lots of vinyl too, i've never really liked CDs.
    The only difference to me is the fact that I can transfer my vinyl to a digital format, but (obviously) can't transfer my digital files to vinyl.
    I've been a DJ for over 20 years, and to be a proper DJ you must play vinyl.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Digital Music & Technology

    Quote Originally Posted by battyrat View Post
    I have never trusted downloads for the simple reason I find them too easy to loose.I still prefer to have a package including cover art and something that I can actually hold in my hands.The same goes for films.
    To be honest I'm more likely to lose a CD than I am a download!

    In fact I've mislaid a few CDs in recent years (The Best Of The Doors and Kick by INXS are two that have gone AWOL!) - I download stuff straight onto my laptop, then onto my IPOD, MP3, and phone so I've got a few options, and of course I back up my laptop so I'll also have them on a data stick.

    I can see why people like artwork etc.. and as I said I will buy CDs if it's a band I'm really into, but it's just so quick and easy to download that it's a no-brainer for me now. For example, I was watching the 1978 TOTP episodes on BBC4 and loved a couple of songs which I didn't have, in the past I'd have had to pay for the CD (even though I only wanted the one song) and wait for shipping or have to pop into town to buy it - now I just go to Amazon, pay 69p and I have the songs I want in seconds.

    I just find CD's take up so much room and the cases crack quite easily if dropped which means the disc often falls out. That said, I do have thousands of CDs from the pre-download era but most I've put onto my laptop now.

    I can understand people preferring not to download though, I resisted for quite a while but now I'm hooked.

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