Music and tech: what’s next?

Naturally, music and technology go hand-in-hand. But like an old married couple, they've certainly had their fair share of squabbles.

Music and tech: what’s next?

Both music and technology have come a very long way since the recording of music began. From the very first vinyl to the free-streaming Spotify - they've been a massive part of our culture. However, how far can this relationship go? With the rise of technology and the changing face of music coming with it, there's bound to be some controversy.

Let's start of with the music side of things - for example, last year was the year of the Stream wars. Jay Z, alongside Beyonce and other musicians like Madonna and Coldplay, launched Tidal after their dissatisfaction with Spotify, claiming that it didn't support mainstream or independent artists enough financially, meaning that musicians weren't earning enough from the music they were making. However, Tidal very quickly suffered a backlash considering the prices that it was setting - $25.99/£18.18 per month for a Tidal Hifi account, $12.99/£9.08 per month for a Tidal Premium account, and between $19.99 and $9.99/£13.98 and £6.99 per month for a standard Tidal account, which technically isn't too bad, although Spotify charges £9.99 for a premium account...

Basically, most people want free music - they don't see music as a luxury but as a right, which is true to some extent. However, at the same time, it can be harmful to artists, and the general public dismiss this because they simply believe that artists can just make it up via touring and merchandise sales. On the other hand, some would say the whole point of being a musician is making money from creating the music to in the first place - it's like a business; you need to sell the product to make a profit. If people stop buying the product, or steal it in some way, the business loses money. So do artists and musicians have to continue to keep fighting against the new wave of free streaming and illegal downloads, or should they adapt to a new system that allows streaming, but also allows finances to run smoothly?

Now for the tech side of things. When it comes to creating, producing or recording music, technology is essential to the industry. Without it, it would be back to old-fashioned ways of tablature and writing every single musical note down, and people would HAVE to go outside to see live gigs. However, with the rise of the internet (e.g. YouTube) & electronic music, especially genres like EDM and Electronica, and new recording techniques (the Smartphone is one thing to have in mind), is technology becoming too influential?

Despite the popularity of EDM artists such as Avicii, Alesso and Skrillex, there has been a lot of criticism stating that the genre lacks authenticity and originality, considering it can now all be done via a laptop, and all it comprises of is endless dance beats, electronic "drops", heavy bass lines and electronic-influenced melodies; in other words, it completely cheats the original approach to creating music - an acoustic guitar and a good knowledge of chords. Although this is to some extent true, optimists have noted that technology doesn't come without its benefits - for example, artists like Bjork can use a variety of recording techniques to experiment with their sound, and sometimes, though rarely, experimentation can lead to a whole new genre if other artists follow suit!

So what do you guys think? Are music & tech meant to be? Or, like Madonna and Guy Ritchie, is the relationship doomed to fail? Let me know in the comments!

Image via Flickr


Luke Taylor

Luke Taylor Contributor

I work as the Network Administrator for Voice. Having completed my apprenticeship at Unit Twenty Three, I continue my work supporting Voice and the Youth Network in whatever way possible. Music is my passion, and I will happily talk about all the bands you've probably never heard of!

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  • Bhavesh Jadva

    On 14 April 2016, 14:59 Bhavesh Jadva Voice Team commented:

    New musicians who came about while I was growing up listening to r'n'b and soul music almost resented technology's intervention in music. They didn't appreciate the tannic quality of synthetic sounds, they preferred only to record playing instruments in their songs. Maybe that was just an urban music thing but people like Lauryn Hill, Joss Stone, Brandy, and Amy Winehouse liked it all pure!

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