DiscoverOngoing History of New MusicThe History of the 2010s Part 5: Music and Tech
The History of the 2010s Part 5: Music and Tech

The History of the 2010s Part 5: Music and Tech

Update: 2023-10-11


For centuries, there’s been a dance between music and technology with each affecting the other in some way...almost always, though, there’s no fighting (and everything to do with it) ultimately bends to the needs and demands of new technology...

For example, when the Catholic Church built big, echo-y cathedrals in the Middle Ages, the sacred music in those buildings adapted to this new architecture so that it made use of the natural reverb...

Fast-forward a bunch of centuries...Thomas Edison’s talking machine, first demonstrated in 1877, and Emile Berliner’s gramophone, which debuted 10 years later, were the first machines able to capture sound, up to three minutes at a time...but because of that recording limit, the standard length of a popular song became about three minutes...the music bent to the limitations of the medium...

I can give you other examples: radio changed the way music was consumed, marketed and sold...jukeboxes help spread the word on R&B, country, and rock’n’roll...they were so popular that a coin shortage in 1937 was blamed on the popularity of jukeboxes...

Electricity gave us amplifiers and the electric guitar...the microphone turned singers from people who could belt out tunes at high volumes into crooners who used the mic to create softer, more intimate performances...

Synthesizers were reviled by many musicians at first because one could make the sounds of an entire orchestra, threatening the livelihoods of professionals...but they were eventually accepted...sampling was thought to be evil and illegal at first, but we worked that out...file-sharing of mp3s meant that no one would ever pay for music again, but now hundreds of millions of people are paying for streaming...there’s more, but you get what I’m talking about...

This music-and-tech balance continues today...and on episode five of our look at rock in the 2010s, we’re going to look how that particular dance played out and the effect these interactions had on our music...

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The History of the 2010s Part 5: Music and Tech

The History of the 2010s Part 5: Music and Tech