The music industry has gone a long way since its humble beginnings. At the start of the 20th century, many changes shaped the music industry. Before these changes, music was usually performed live in opera houses or concert halls.
People were only able to get a copy of songs through published sheet music. When people wanted to hear the musical pieces, they would have to buy sheet music and perform or ask someone to play musical instruments such as a piano, guitar, and violin at home.
Inventions like phonography made recorded performances available to everyone who owns it. But what dramatically change all of these is the onset of radio broadcasting. Soon, bands and musicians’ performances are transmitted through the airwaves, and people get to enjoy music in the comfort of their homes.
Radio stations and towers were built to broadcast to a much wider audience. Opera and symphony concerts that were reserved for people who can afford to buy tickets are now available through the different radio stations.
Television Broadcasting and MTV
The invention of the television further changes the music industry. Soon people were able to watch performances from remote locations such as television stations in the comfort of their homes. It paved the way for the creation of Music Television (MTV). Although the first attempt to create music television in the 1970s was not successful, this did not deter music industry players.
But in the 1980’s MTV gathered steam and became very important of the 80’s culture. Music has become not just singing the songs but also their costumes, performance, and storyline. The MTV videos have become an entire production with singers, props, scripts, locations, and special effects.
MTV performances of singers like Michael Jackson were real a spectacle that involved a large production, advanced visuals, and special effects. Many artists established their great careers through MTV, including music icons like Madonna, Prince, Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode, etc.
MTV built a considerable following and defined culture in the 1980s. Record labels invested a lot of money in the production of MTV’s. Many artists like Cindy Lauper, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, David Bowie, and Rod Stewart built very lucrative careers because of MTV.
The Internet and how it Changed the Music Industry
The development of the Internet has dramatically changed the music industry. Long-established norms that were developed in the 1980’s has been abruptly replaced by something different. To give you an example, the guys at Plasterer Hobart skyrocketed their band audience by 50% just growing their Youtube subscriptions. They are only a small city band. Imaging international mega superstars.
Music that was once distributed in such physical formats as cassette tapes, CDs, Videotapes has replaced by digital distribution. In the early 2000s, streamed video and digital downloads became the primary source of popular videos and music.
Even the production of music has also been affected. Small digital studios can produce their music and post it online to their followers. Many artists have used auto-tuning technology to remove imperfections in their tones and voices. Technology created artists who are great performers in their digital format but will have difficulty singing in live crowds due to the absence of digital auto-tuning.
The Internet also gave rise to independent music artists who produce their music and distribute it through music streaming websites and apps. The Internet provides this talented artist, who otherwise unknown, a venue to distribute their music without the backing of large record labels.
The audience now has almost unlimited options and genres to choose from, whether independent artists, record label artists, or even viral upcoming musicians. The Internet has now become a large marketplace of music.
Streaming video and music websites and apps have now become the primary source for the majority of people. Youtube, with its 1.5 billion users, is the most popular video and music streaming website in the world. But others would argue that technically it’s a video hosting website. But no one can say how much influence it has in shaping the music industry.
Other popular streaming platforms are NetEase, a Chinese streaming and download platform that has 400 million users. SoundCloud, with 175 million users which is a Berlin-Bases streaming company. Spotify, which is probably the best know streaming website and currently has 170 million subscribers, half of them are premium paying users. Apple Music is also making waves since it launches and has around 50 million users.
The Internet has transformed the music industry in many ways and would probably do so for the years to come. To survive this new competitive environment, artists and the music industry must learn to be flexible and adapt to the changes.