Blog Post #5 (Digital Spin-off)

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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7 Responses to “Blog Post #5 (Digital Spin-off)”

  1. medst330wpl Says:

    Interesting blog post you got here.
    I didn’t realize the irony of the compact disc but yeah, I agree that it is similar to the traditional records of yesteryear.

    In terms of formats, I see that current and future formats will do the same. They will get introduced, begin to take its stance in the world, then overcome odds by beating a previous format, then peak to a climax, then fall slowly or rapidly depending on the next format’s intro and rise to success.

    I think without established friendships (online or offline), we would be these dull, “solitary” kind of people having your own entertainment world, and no sharing and/or collective sense of connecting with one another about so and so artist or group.

  2. sm09 Says:

    Isn’t that the way the world works? We have one form of a product and then someone comes along and decides they want to improve this basic product and make it more complex yet, more simple for consumers. We have seen this throughout history, consumers may be skeptical at first because they are used to their “old” product and they know how it works. Then this “newer” model comes out and changes everything. We have seen this change in how we listen to our music, advancements in this field have caused a move from a public to a more private listening experience if desired. With record players we would put an album on for everyone to hear. Later the Walkmen and CD players were invented, allowing people to wear headphones and listen to their tapes or CD’s privately. Now just about everyone has an ipod, allowing you to store your entire music collection in one device, no changing of records, tapes, or CD’s. Also, with this new technology we can plug headphones in for private listening or dock our ipod on speakers for everyone to enjoy. I wonder what will be next…

  3. 4everyoung Says:

    All I can say is thank goodness for digital sound. I don’t miss the days having to “search” for a song like how I had to do when we were in the era of cassette tapes. I enjoy the ability to touch one button and get to the song of my choice. I enjoy the durability of digital sound. The fact that music can now be downloaded almost means that the life of preserving your music catalog is endless. Way to go digital!

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