The digital era versus the institutions of analog; the format war in relation to the music industry The intent of this essay is to look at the ongoing battle known as the format war, I will begin by looking at the history of vinyl. I will begin to discuss the new and “improved” digital era of music production with its ongoing demands and browsing and how this ongoing battle between certain formats seems to be here to stay. Given that the subject in question is such a broad subject I am going to be concentrating on a specific case study of peer-to-peer file transferring with precise reference to Napster and the way it paved a new path for the downloadable MP3’s and how industries jumped on the bandwagon and used the once frowned upon technology today as a selling point. I will look specifically ay MP3 and Vinyl in the ever changing tastes and demands in this evolving internet culture and club culture.
History of Vinyl.
The gramophone or more commonly known as vinyl record, vinyl, phonograph record, or simply record is an analog sound storage medium. It consists of a flat disc with an inscribed set of grooves, which denote certain pitches and tones when amplified and read by a record player, giving us the listener, the music we crave and purchase on a daily basis. This process was generally used for commercial music reproduction for the best part of the 20th century, although this old fashioned technology had been replaced and advanced drastically since, many music fanatics and DJ’s still prefer vinyl as their weapon of choice and believe that it provides a rich and balanced sound found in no other format.
“I have never heard a CD or an MP3 with anything even remotely like the richness, vibrancy and atmosphere that can come from a vinyl record.”
Most of the vinyl’s released into the music industry were known as either an LP or an EP, both acronyms for Long Play, referring to almost all recordings and Extended Play, which referred to 45 rpm recordings with twice the usual number of songs on each side. Sizes of records in America and the UK are generally measured in inches. The rpm refers to their rotational speeds in revolutions per minute. LPs are most often in the 12” format, although the early vinyl recordings were 10”. They are commonly made of PVC , hence may be referred to as vinyl records or simply just vinyl.
The Digital Era.
With the internet playing a bigger and bigger part in day to day life, a format was needed for everyday use, instead of searching through your CD collection or vinyl collection to choose your favourite track, people wanted something digital and with technology advancements becoming more and more impressive and capable. Behold the WAV file. Short for Waveform audio format, it is a process of storing data digitally via an audio bitstream on PCs. WAV files are generally large in file size when uncompressed. So as file sharing over the Internet has become more and more popular with broadband limits being only a fraction of what is capable today a solution was needed, thus a format was created for that very purpose. Behold the dreaded mp3. Also known as an MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3, but more commonly referred to as MP3. It is a digital audio encoding format and is a common audio format for consumer audio storage. With the WAV format declining in popularity, it is still a commonly used, relatively “pure” in sound, a lossless file type with a high quality of sound and used within the industry on systems where a high end sound is required and disk space is not a restriction. With compressed audio solutions more commonly available the internet went crazy, the entire world was a sharing nation. The small file sizes allowed faster Internet transfers, as well as lower consumption of space on storage devices such as a hard drives. Although with this compression of smaller file size the loss of audio quality was imminent.
Case Study - Napster.
I have chosen to look at the first and most...
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