The massive and mind-boggling advances in technology have altered our lifestyle in significant ways in the past few years. It has affected almost every part of our life—if not all—and has also transformed how we relate to the world around us. These days, we can barely stay awake for five minutes without having something to do on our phone and probably spend some quality time on social media platforms like Facebook. In addition, in this modern society—thanks to technological advancement—you can practically have all you need to be delivered to you at your home. That’s including new music technologies, without having to go out to get them—something that was not possible many years back.
Time will fail me if I continue to list what technology has made possible in recent years. However, I will not conclude without mentioning that the Music Industry is one of the sectors that has received technology’s benevolence. Today, the way we make music, use musical instruments, and listen to music has changed drastically—thanks to technological advancement. It has even allowed musicians to get a significant reward for their hard work. Unfortunately, we really can’t quantify what technology has done in recent years. But let’s take a quick look at new music technologies that have changed the face of music.
- New Music Technologies with relation to music creation
- What are the new Music Technologies In Terms of Musical Instruments?
- New Ways of Listening to music
- What are the new Ways of Accessing Music?
- New Ways of Promoting Music
New Music Technologies with relation to music creation
First off, we need to give kudos to musicians and music producers from the 19th century and earlier. The amount of work put into music production in these early days is enormous. They did so much to make good music with the limited available resources. Today, though there’s still a quality amount of work needed to produce good music, technological advancement has made it a lot easier. With tools like;
Multitrack recording has become a trivial part of music production these days. However, musicians and sound engineers had no choice but to record a track at length before its invention. Of course, there mustn’t be any mistake in the middle of recording; else, there is no way to correct it—they’ll have to start all over again. But, these days, with multitrack, producers can record parts of a track separately and then put them together later. It also allowed the tweaking of a specific section of a song and the addition of many layers of instruments.
Even artists with great vocals sometimes make mistakes. They sometimes make odd notes that are off the pitch during voice recording. But, when errors happen, autotune is there to correct those mistakes. It tweaks pitch-faulty notes to the nearest semitone making the performance pitch-perfect. However, most artists use this technology discreetly. Why is that? No one can pinpoint any significant reason. It probably has to do with the notion that only untalented artists need such. But, even the greatest artist may need it to correct slight mistakes. Critics have come at artists like T-Pain and Kanye West because they have found ways to use this technology to their advantage. Though it doesn’t take away the fact that autotune is one of the great new music technologies.
We tend to quickly leave the personal computer out of the list of life-changing technological inventions. That’s probably because it has become a part of our everyday activity that we easily overlook. But, when you remember that there was a time when music producers had to be in the studio before they work on making music, you probably would appreciate the contribution of personal computers more. Most modern-day producers don’t even know what it means to make music without computers. Today, we can work on music recordings practically anywhere as long as we have our computers with us. Artists also get to release songs in unorthodox ways these days, thanks to personal computers.
Use of Digital software
Digital software is probably the best new music technologies invention we’ve witnessed so far. The number of songs that get released daily to music fans around the world is outrageous! Thanks to digital music software for that outburst! Before now, aspiring or mainstream artists would have to pay or ask for a studio session to make anything worthwhile. But today, from the comfort of your home, you can release top-notch tracks. Upcoming artists find this tool most useful. They can write, record, and produce their songs or for someone else’s song from the bedroom. Then, with programs like Protools and Logic, they can add incredible effects, plugins, and other tools to produce quality music.
New Music Technologies In Terms of Musical Instruments
Technology didn’t just affect the way we make music. It also spread its tentacles to the instruments of music. Some of the new musical instruments inventions include;
The electric guitar is said to be the heart of rock-and-roll music. However, it has found its way beyond the vast fields of rock-and-roll music into another genre as well. That guitar is one loud but easy to play type. Though loud, many musicians have found a way to blend it into their recordings. You can’t find electric guitars lacking in the pop-culture and hip-pop music that has become the heart of our modern-day music. It has, without doubt, become one of the popular means of musical expression in our modern-day music industry.
What if you want to perform at an event, but you don’t have the money to pay an entire band to play alongside you? Does that mean you have to let the gig go? Even if you have the band at your beck and call, there are several reasons an artist may want or need to perform solo. So, when you have to go solo for an event, does that mean you’ll have to do it without a beat or the only instrument you can handle? Of course not! Sometime back, that would have been the case, but today, you have a loop pedal to do the job for you. When performing solo, it allows you to do an entire song with varying instruments and beats with just the push of a button. It will capture your audience the same way as a 12 piece band.
If you wanted to include a trumpet sound on your track before MIDI came along, the only solution was to get a trumpet player into the studio. However, when MIDI became an invention, music producers no longer had to do that much work. In combination with music production software and synthesizers, the instrument allows songwriters to produce music with an elaborate body of work. In a nutshell, having a MIDI and understanding how to use it is like having the cheat code for music. It allows music tools and electronic instruments to communicate perfectly with each other. And, if you have to make a minimal or significant correction to tracks, you can do it without having to re-record the song. As a result, it offers new creativity to music-making and helps to keep production costs to the bare minimum.
History has it that Duane Eddy’s friend came up with the idea of the twangy guitar tone we hear in Eddy’s songs by turning a grain elevator into an echo chamber. That’s to show the extent musicians and producers had to go when they needed to make studio tricks like reverb, echo, phasing, and distortion. There were no tools made significantly for such, so they had to improvise. However, with the invention of the effects pedal came the ease in producing the unusual sounds we now have in pop culture. Many of the effects that artists could not recreate in live performances soon became possible with a portable effect unit. Songs artists could only keep in the studio soon came to the limelight and could do it with so much fuzz.
New Ways of Listening to music
Music production is not the only area affected by new music technologies, the way we consume music has also changed. Before now, you’ll need to have a Phonograph to play music in the comfort of your home. Though it was a form of technology during its reign, only a few had access to it. The rest had to rely on their radio to listen to the best of music. Mp3 Nowadays, the narrative has changed with the invention of;
MP3 Audio Format and Players
The concept of MP3 itself is a new technology first introduced to us in the early 1980s by a German developer. It’s a coding format that translates audio into a low bit rate that the computer can easily read without making noticeable changes to the music. From the first year of introducing the MP3 format, we’ve had players that could read the code, and today, we have inventions like the;
The iPod is a 21st-century invention and Apple version of the music player launched by Steve Jobs. He once said that his dream is to put thousands of songs into people’s pockets, which was what iPod did! It took a portion of the music confined to our living room, computers, and other restricted areas and placed it in our pocket. With an iPod and earpiece, you have all the companions you need!
Telephones used to be a thing on the table; we couldn’t carry them around. But, soon enough came the invention of mobile phones, and it has evolved into what we have today. However, the earlier versions of mobile phones didn’t have mp3 format players, so inventions like the iPod thrived. However, with development comes integrating music players into mobile phones, and here we have it today. It has drastically changed the way we listen to music and even have access to music.
Remember when DJs had to have stacks of CDs? What a life it was then. Aside from DJs, to have a personal Playlist, you’ll also need a stack of CDs. Today, that’s not the case anymore with the introduction of USB-enabled CDJs. This invention allowed you or Djs to store multiple digital files like mp3 format of tracks in a USB instead of CDs. Then from the files, you get to create a Playlist as you desire.
New Music Technologies – New ways of Accessing Music
Technology gave us a lot of tools, including new ways to get music. Before now, you’ll have to rush to the nearest music store to get the track, song, and album of your favorite artists. That’s not the case anymore with several ways to access music such as;
YouTube is the master of free online video streaming; however, with YouTube Music, you have free unlimited access to the best music. Browse through songs based on Playlist, genre, and recommendation. Your favorite artist is on YouTube.
iTunes is a media library, media player, mobile device management utility, Internet radio broadcaster, and the client app for the iTunes Store, developed by Apple Inc. With iTunes, you can Organize, manage, and play your favorite artists’ videos and music. With a paid subscription, download or play unlimited songs with Apple Music. Also, find music, audiobooks, movies, free podcasts, TV shows, and more in the iTunes Store.
Spotify is a digital podcast, music, and video service that allows you to access millions of songs and other content from your favorite content creators and others worldwide. On Spotify, essential functions such as playing and listening to music are free. Discover, manage, play, and share over seventy million tracks, including more than 2.6 million podcast titles, all for free!
Many of these new music technologies to access track and audio files have found ways to reward content creators for trusting the platform with their creation. For example, they pay artists each time you stream the songs live. As a result, YouTube pays artists handsomely, and so do others.
New Ways of Promoting Music
Marketing and promoting music involves a lot of must-do. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to the music industry or not; you’ll need to market your brand continuously. But, thanks to technological advancement, you have the power of social media to leverage.
Instagram boasts of at least 1 billion active users with over 500 million active daily. That’s why using Instagram for music promotion is a great way to leverage the power of social media for musicians.
TikTok is basically for fun and visually appealing content; it’s not a place for “Ted Talks.” But, if you use it well for your band’s social media promotion, and you do it the right way, you’ll get the opportunity to introduce your brand to millions of audiences worldwide.
The playground of over 2.6 billion active users! Where else on earth can you have such a number? Therefore, as a musician, you will want to take your share of the big cake Facebook has to offer.
Discreet but powerful. Imagine informing millions of followers on Twitter beforehand about your upcoming music. Then, you can sit back and watch how thousands of them would wait eagerly for the release. Upon arrival, they will consume it mercilessly!
In summary, in this modern-day society, one way to make the most out of marketing is to use social media music marketing platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.
From Thomas Edison’s first discovery of waveform-engraved cylinders to the open-source code of our music players such as iPods, all we can say is, we’ve, no doubt, come a long way in capturing, mixing, and reproducing sound. Every new music technology devoted to preserving performance and composition since and after has, in many ways, made the journey long, fun, and a full circle. We’ve tried to make a curated list of a few of these new music technologies. What do you think?