Blog Post #6 (Mp3 Revolution)

Posted in Uncategorized on December 14th, 2010 by brian morrissey

The final frontier of the digital sound, at least at this point in time, comes in the form of a non-physical music format; instead it relies in the form of a virtual, digital form that plays via a computer. Capitalizing on a huge boom in the mid-90s (a 10X increase in the number of online users from 1992 to 1996). Couple this with the personal computers recent upgrade in sound quality through soundcards that could support industry standard 16-bit audio and the home computer was now becoming a new effective and very practical way to store and listen to music. The best part of storing music virtually on a computer is that it eliminates the need for CD storage; instead all music is rendered digitally onto a hard drive, which depending on the storage capacity of that hard drive can store the equivalent to dozens if not hundreds of audio CDs in a very compact and organized means.

With The ability to now store and listen to music via one’s home computer, the issue of where to obtain music was now for the first time, brought into question. Traditionally one would go to a music store and buy records, then tapes, then CDs but with the advent of the internet and P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing, for the first time in history music retailers were not so much a necessity of the industry. Through P2P sharing, songs can be traded and shared via the internet where people would download them directly to their computers and have their own copy of a given song or album. It was the new way to share music without having to trade a physical medium; instead limitless versions of a song could be downloaded and copied from just one original copy of the song itself. People that may never meet each other who share likeminded interests in music listening can now help one another out with this seemingly limitless form of musical trade.

Napster was introduced around 1997 but really took off by 1999. It was this huge P2P database which would allow users to log on to and search for their favorite songs as well as anything that they might like to hear without having to commit to purchase. This was a huge reason that college students gravitated to the software that at Napster’s peek, about 75% of all college students in the United States were using. This brought up a huge issue of copyright concerns and licensing issues as to just what was legal and illegal about the whole file sharing trend. Personally, I feel that sharing music can act as a means of free advertising, allowing you the ability to discover something you may not have otherwise would’ve paid for, and now you can support that band by seeing them on tour or buying merchandise that will ultimately put more in that artist’s pocket money wise. However, I do see the record company, artist, and other industry affected by the sales of album are all coming from. It takes money, time, and creativity to produce and album and these contributions should be compensated for.

The converting of digital audio file to Mp3 format revolutionized the music industry. It had even stemmed over to personal listening devices as car stereos now, as they’ve done for the last decade, all supported Mp3 format and players have been invented for the exclusive playing of this digital audio files. I’m of course talking about the Apple iPod. With the practical advantage of being able to walk around with one’s entire music library literally in their pocket at all times instead of having to find a place to store hundreds of CDs, it’s quite easy to see why digital Mp3 formatted songs have taken off the way they have. With the ability to be shared and acquired, it really is an exciting time to be a music fan.

Blog Post #5 (Digital Spin-off)

Posted in Uncategorized on December 2nd, 2010 by brian morrissey

The 1970’s saw great changes in the music industry. Types of music were changing as were fashion and other trends. One of the most notable changes came with the introduction of digital sound. With digital, sounds would be encoded and turned into a set of binary code (1’s and 0’s) instead of the physical analogous sound captured on vinyl and even cassette tapes. One other notable difference between digital and analog sound is how it read; whereas tape would be physically fed into headers, and a vinyl having a needle riding a top the disk. A digital signal is actually read from its source via a lens and laser, once again the departure of a physical connection for that of a more technically advanced option. This lack of physical connectivity to a source median has resulted in much criticism as to being potentially lacking in warmth, heart, soul, and other subtle nuances prevalent in analog musical forms; in fact, digital has been referred to as being cold and impersonal.

Much like when acoustic instruments were passed over for their electronic counterparts, there is a certain element of legitimacy brought into question. Was it really the instruments “natural” sound and tone, or was it merely an electronic representation of it. This was even more so once recorded music bean the shift toward digitization. I think animosity grew toward such a big change due to the inherent affinity music has toward intimacy. Indeed we are often most relaxed being by ourselves, listening to whatever pleasures us; this feeling of privacy and aloneness with what we love. Any forced changed to it can be seen as a somewhat invasion or interference between the individual and the thing they love. Not trying to personify music, however when looking at it this way it’s easier to see why there was so much conflict during the formative years of the switch, the late 70s and mid-1980s. This seemingly ever constant social dichotomy, a Yin & Yang relationship between old-school conservative and new-school progressives.

Transitioning over to digital media, CDs and later DVDs for video, would take roughly a decade just to first outsell its analog predecessors before it could become the new industry standard. Despite being introduced back in the late 70’s, the compact disc in a commercial market would not begin to sell more than vinyl and cassette tapes until 1988, from which point it soon became the new industry standard bringing in the phasing out of vinyl and the subsequent demise of cassette tape later on in the 90’s. The ironic thing about compact disc is they are more similar to traditional records than people may want to admit. A single stationary recording apparatus still scales and reads embedded sound within circular recording medium; who is reading is based upon the mediums rotation.

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