Technologies That Revolutionised the Music Industry

t could be said that the technology of music is over 40,000 years old, which is the estimated date of the oldest musical instrument ever found. But for music as we know it today, the technologies started to evolve late in the 19th century.  In 1877, Thomas Edison invented the phonograph and that was the first of the technologies that revolutionised the music industry.

The concept of this piece of equipment was that music was read off a material disc and the sound amplified through speakers. With vinyl records and then compact discs, this was the way music was sold for nearly 125 years.

Radio and Television

Both of these had a huge impact on the music industry. The radio was first around in the 1920’s and for the first time people could listen to all types of music without owning a record player or having to buy the music themselves. Radio did more to make musicians famous than any other medium of its time.

When television hit people homes in the 1050’s, suddenly the stars of the records could be viewed as well as listened to. In those days there were lots of variety shows, which were perfect showcases for up and coming musicians. No-one could talk about music on TV without mentioning Top Of The Pops, the longest running music show anywhere in the world.

Electric Instruments and Synthesizers

Both electric instruments and synthesizers had a huge impact on the music industry, as suddenly new sounds and tones could be made. As early as 1965, Bob Dylan used an electric guitar at the Newport Blues Festival, but before that Chuck Berry had been using one for some years.  In the western music world, electric instruments were a must for all groups and artists, such as the Beatles and Nirvana.

Tapes and CD’s

At the time, the music industry was worried that tapes would reduce the sales of records, as people could now record what they wanted to listen to. This was soon forgotten though with the emergence of CDs, which were smaller and could be played on portable devices. However, in comparison to previous technologies, they were short-lived as well.  The music industry always kept up with new innovations, and these continued to evolve.

Digital Music

At the same time that the music world was seeing new technologies, so was every other aspect of our lives. The explosion of smartphones and digital technology brought about the ability to be able to download music at very little cost compared to the more traditional methods of purchasing it, and  in some cases it is free.

More than the music industry has been affected by these new advances though, another typical example being the gaming industry. For instance, it would have been unthinkable just a few years ago to be able to play something like roulette in real time with other players and live dealers. At that is just one of the many options of games on offer.

How Will Blockchain Affect The Music Industry?

Blockchain is what the music companies should be worried about, as this will not be a flash in the pan; it is here to stay. It allows peer-to-peer transactions, and people will be able to buy music very easily directly from an artist, without a need to have the record label in the middle taking their cut. Blockchain it set to change the music and the film industry as apps such as EtherVision will provide a direct distribution link between the artists and the customers, something that has never been available in the past.

At the present time, blockchain is the newest technology that is going to affect many industries, and some will have to consider the way they work if they are to survive. What we don’t know is what technology will come next, but no doubt as soon as a new innovation appears, the music industry will embrace it, just as it has all the technologies of the bygone eras.