The politics of what's to be heard.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sound(')s Good

Pretend, just for a moment, that there isn’t anyone within your line of sight listening to an iPod. And those white strings dangling dangerously, yet most humorously close to being sucked into a paper shredder, for example, are not really there. None of that exists. Ok, let’s be reasonable about this. Sure, there’re iPods. But there are other MP3 players too, some of them even being different colors then that of the classic milk-colored Apple creation.

If the virtually simultaneous advents of high-speed internet and cost-effective home recording means did not take place, this fictitious reality might very well have been part of everyday life. The downloading world has destroyed the physical realm of compact disc production and sales. Yet online music providers have flourished in the last few years, as the majority of music listeners have at least experimented with these new, “convenient” ways to attain music. For someone like me – a poor college student with an “up-and-coming” band (my bandmates and I sit around and jam for a few hours a week) – this new musical reality has is benefits, as well as its cons.

Back in the good ol’ days, people went to the local music store (even if it was a huge chain), shopped around, listened to some good tunes, and bought a couple of CD’s. Enter the Future. Now, people still do that, but more and more people every year simply log on to iTunes or their favorite new music downloading store, and download whole albums, or maybe a single or two. Even more revolutionary is the idea that musicians don’t even have to go to a studio anymore to record their form of art. Even a poor college student like myself can set up a home recording studio for a rather small price (as shown by Tweaks Guide...), and upload their music to the ever-popular MySpace website where they hope everyone in the “civilized” world will discover their great talent.

In this not so made up world, everyone and anyone who wants to will be able to create new music, and, eventually, other types of creative art which used to cost resources that most people didn’t have, namely film. This can only mean one (or maybe two) things. Firstly, the number of artists will diversify mainstream music to unheard of levels (pun reluctantly intended). Secondly, the quality of music will become more extreme, meaning most music will be relatively low fidelity, but high quality music will continue to remain at the forefront of popular music. All said, this revolution will add a necessary competitive force to independent music, driving the industry as a whole to diversify and create more effective means of reaching the masses with their ever sought after product.