Another look at how technological development has changed the music industry

[A guest post by Lucas Cappel – AC]

The music industry has experienced profound effects from technological development resulting in the rapid growth of the industry. These advancements in music technology took a short duration to revolutionize the entire industry.

Technological development, generally, is the change in the way of doing things, from a simple manner to a more sophisticated way, using more developed tools to achieve greater results. This change usually cuts across all aspects of society both positive and negative implications. Consequently, the music industry has experienced a profound effect from technological development resulting in the rapid growth of the industry. Moreover, it took a short duration for these advancements in music technology to revolutionize the music industry worldwide.

Technological Developments in the History of Music Production

To understand the magnitude of the impact of technological developments, we need to look at the history of music production. Furthermore, we have to analyze all the technologies used to make and listen to music. We should also look at the effects of the profound technological advancements that shaped the entire society like the internet.

The dawn of the electronic era ushered in a new era of rapid innovations across several industries. Music recording studios began using electronic instruments from like the amp technology that significantly improved the quality of music production. The electronic era saw the development of a large scale music industry, with the capacity for massive music recording and playback capabilities. We can study music technology in two broad classifications which are the digital and analogue technologies.

Music Production Technologies

The digital era marks an essential milestone in the development of the music industry. The analogue era rapidly faded away as the digital age flourished quickly with blooming promises. Music studios adopted digital media for music production. Software development introduced electronic music programs into the studios. As a result, digital music was born and quickly took root in the late 90s.

In the 90s, digital music largely replaced the analogue music systems with the development of the MP3 technology. This innovation prompted a new phase of music recording. The new technology though initially vigorously opposed, inevitably took over as it presented further significant advantages. Music CDs and computer music mixing programs resulted in the smaller numbers of LP records and tapes being sold as they swept across the industry.

These services often allow artists to sell music more directly, bringing more of the revenue to the creators. And the fact that most of the accounting is done automatically by a computer helps ensure that the distribution of the funds is done fairly. The most popular of these services currently include:

  • iTunes Radio
  • Milk Music
  • Spotify
  • Pandora

The MP3 technology enabled music to become digital and mobile. This new technology ensured digital music became less bulky and fit into pockets. Portable music player became smaller as a result and rendered more music tracks than before.

Advancements in the audio engineering technology made the music digitization process smoother. Integration of professional sound analysis into music production process increased the professional level in the music industry. The impacts brought about by this technology wasn’t limited to music production. Several experts put their skills and knowledge into developing better audio systems for quality music delivery.

Computers offer more accuracy in capturing numerous details of music production information. The information helps us have better control of the entire process that flows into the ways the music gets consumed. Through the digitalization of the music industry, we can even track how many times a single track gets played.

Overall, even though the music industry initially dreaded the digital revolution, it adapted and changed. And an argument can be made that these changes were beneficial. Even though there are certain standing questions regarding the digital, the music industry is friendlier for the consumers and the artists than it was before.

The Future of Music Technology

The future of music technology looks promising as technology keeps advancing. Several minds keep impacting the music industry with innovations increasing the value of the entire industry. Artists bring in new styles and skills that prompt, professional music specialists innovate new ways of capturing and replying to the new music.

Better and more advanced sound engineering tools make sure the music production and playback quality always improve. The sound is the central element of music; so the development of academic courses has seen a more detailed understanding of sound properties. We can now manipulate these elements for better music quality.


Technological developments always promise better ways of doing things regarding both techniques and skills. The music industry experiences these changes as the other sectors of the economy. Despite presenting both positive and negative aspects, these developments have generally led to significant advances in the industry. These advances are experiences in both music production (making digital music) and the ways the music gets listened to across the world

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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