Last time, we looked at the attempt in 1982 the UK Musicians Union tried to have synthesizers banned because they threatened the livelihood of real musicians.
If we go back to the 1920s, musicians’ unions were very upset about gramophone records being played on the radio. If radio stations played prerecorded music instead of featuring live musical performances, they said, it would mean the end of professional musicians. Around 1900, the march composer John Phillip Sousa was very public about his opposition to all recorded music, saying that capturing a live performance would destroy the spontaneity of music-making.
But the first guy to complain about automation and machines in music? That would be Aristotle. In 350 BC, he was worried that new self-playing harps would make musicians unnecessary.
If you missed yesterday’s post on music and automation, go here. And don’t forget to check out my podcast The Ongoing History of New Music where you listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google, Stitcher, or wherever you get your on-demand audio.