“How has technology affected the Music Industry?”

The Key issues with production are because of new computer programs allowing people to DIY which means make their music themselves without need of a record label. More and more bands are doing this, some example are Houdouken, Enter Shakari and Dub FX. These people make their music at home on garage band or their own recording and mixing devices, then distribute on web 2.o sites. This means more freedom for the band, and gives more opportunity for anyone to do this and create a popular track. This however is a problem for the record labels like the big four, Sony, Universal, Warner brothers and BMI, who are losing money.

The issues in distribution are mainly because of the up rise of the internet and web 2.0, which consist of programs like, YouTube, YouTube converter, Iso-Hunt, pirate bay etc., all easily accessible and useable for anyone who wants to download illegally. In the “youth and music survey 2009″ it showed clearly the statists of people views on music in the 21st century. An overwhelming 70% of people didn’t feel guilty about downloading music illegally. Jim Killock, said after the physical sales of music had dropped 7 % in a year, and that “Music company’s should make their albums more compelling”, and this is obviously a good idea when you look at the results from the other questions form the survey. Like what people think about the prices for CD’s or legal downloads, they mainly agree that they are far too expensive, and want the price to be over half the price cheaper, so they are going to have to change their selling tactics if they want to stop illegal downloading. This is backed up by record labels like Soul Jazz, who sell vinyls and retro merchandise, have found that the value of music is not only in the songs themselves, but the merchandise. This is mainly because there music is underground, meaning the smaller groups who like the history and original styles of music value and respect it more. It is clear when just looking at the SJ website that the makers love music, its more personal, with a retro style, where as Sony or 1 of the big four has a very industrial look, without the soul, so music is just seen as a commodity instead of art, making the public loose there respect and passion for it, making them use a free survive like YouTube converter or bit torrent. This also shows the issues which consumption.

Despite the fact that music is more well-known now, than 50 years ago, the ways it is consumed have radically changed because of web 2.o sites, like YouTube. Stafford basically said, that anyone can make music now, whether they have talent or not because of technology, and this caused the industry to be less controllable. This explains why 40 years ago file sharing through the boom box and cassette was beneficial as it spread the word which meant that they made more profit than they lost. Also back then music was a new and incredible thing, you had to be extremely talented to be a renowned musician like the Beatles or Elvis. Whereas now the word is spread and music has lost its exclusivity, and there are so maybe avenues on we 2 to download illegally, people who get sick of a song in 1 day feel no guilt in downloading.  This is again backed by the finding in the survey, it says that YouTube has soared as the place to go to check pout new artists with the percentage of 38% against 15% or lower.

The change in file sharing and its effects, are through new convergence technology. Convergence meaning the coming together of two things or products two do more than one thing. This started all the way back when the cassette was invented, and has continued to evolve. This has made more money, as PlayStations and games like the Wee with its “Just dance”, or films and adverts, like the nail varnish advert with the song “louder” by a new band parade, which is the first place I heard the record. For the industry this however in many ways has caused for music becoming to “everyday”. In the survey, it shows how the times have change with web 2.0, proving many other points. It asks “which devices have you listened to music on in the last week?”, 80% said computer, and YouTube which has its own illegal downloading site, was the highest percentage, when asked about the website they most visit to check out a new band or artist. So despite convergence making music more popular, it has made it loose its status and worth because its everywhere.

Apple are now a huge part of the music industry because of convergence, they have worked into the industry going from specializing in computers and devices, the into music. This happened when Apples founder Steve Jobs started making music devices like the iPod, he knew that this device was so popular, he could sell music as well and people who love Apple a brand and the newer technology, would buy it. So he created iTunes and an iTunes store with approval form the big 4, and this meant that they could sell signal tracks at 99p, so apple became a distributor. He then made several different iPods all coming out one after another, becoming more and more of a fashion accessory, and the best biggest storage device for music, in a compact sleek case. He then this I called vertical integration with the iPod and iTunes, and is a very effective way of making a profit, and a huge fan base, helping the problems with illegal downloading but not solving them.

The first impression I got from Soul Jazz, was from then look of the website, it was colourful, retro and would best attractive to all the niche audiences or underground audiences who love the history of music and the soul of it. Furthermore, because of their audiences, and the merchandise they sell, like vinyl record, retro art, and t shirts, they are able to allow the audiences to listen fully to a tack before buying it, this suggests that they have never had a huge problem with illegal downloading, as they sell more than just the music, it’s the physical things with the music that counts. Soul Jazz also use horizontal integration, which means they have a symbiotic relationship with sister labels who support each other as independent labels by having a link on their blog to each other. So they keep their own money but they support each other like a family.  Soul jazz still understands the moving times and the need for other ways of selling the music, they have also got a link to download legally through convergence devices so people can listen to the tracks on mp3’s this helps bridge the gap between the history in the music and the new technology of today.

Dub FX, Houdoken and Enter Shakari, are all DIY artists, this means they have no need for a record label, but instead use other web 2.0 sites, like my space, Facebook, blog spot, You Tube, twitter, to upload there tracks and advertise them making a them known. They use these sites so anyone can read about them and listen to them, also spread the word through social networks which makes it easier to become famous as everyone in the world can access it, which touches on the global village principle, which is basically saying that the world is as small as a village because of the internet, which means that anything and everything can be accessed or heard about anywhere with a click of a mouse. Stafford said that anyone can make music now, whether they have talent or not because of technology, and this caused the industry to be less controllable. It is less controllable, which although does cause problems, illegal downloading is a big one, however it does give more freedom and opportunity, to the bands which otherwise would never be heard of.

From looking at all of these finding it is clear that web 2.0 is the biggest and most powerful tool in the music industry today. This is because anyone can make a song, with the simplest of devices, upload them, advertise them and if they get enough hits become famous, which is a both a good and bad thing, as it has made music more accessible, easy to produce, distribute and consume, and help good bands who DIY come to light. However,  because of the amount of easy opportunity’s, makes people take it for granted, and not appreciate it and has made it hard for bands or the industry because of the easy access to illegal downloads.

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