The Impacts of Technology on Music Recording Industry and Society

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The Impacts of Technology on
Music Recording Industry and Society

"TV has restored the daily life of family, Photography has altered the way we look at the world, the computer has changed everything.”
(Mark Katz, 2010)

It is true the computer has converted everything into digital. Digital technology has also changed the ways of sound and voice recording. It has gradually led to the changes not only in the production of sound but also in the views of society, precisely consumers and producers. Since the 70's, the computer, music and audio industries have influenced on one another. Nowadays, many people use different digital sound recording equipment and sound recording software to transform recording to get the best quality of sound and the fastest way of recording; and to meet their goals and consumers' needs. This report will focus on how technology has contributed to shape the systems of sound recording, the role or producer, engineer and music production.

History of Sound Recording Technology

Today’s digital recording system has derived from the first sound recording device called "Phonautograph" which was invented by a French man, Léon Scott de Martinville in 1857. The visual image of sound was recorded with a cylinder covered with a soot but it could not be played back. This lead to Thomas Edison, in 1877 to invent; a machine called a phonograph that could both record and play back audio instantly using a tinfoil-wrapped cylinder rotated with a handle. However, it was discouraging because the foil could be used only a few times before it deteriorated, thus creating enormous production costs.

Later, sound recordings have developed as electrical recording (1925), magnetic tape recording (1935), multi-track recording (1943) and finally into the era of the information technology for digital recordings (1972) and multi–track digital recordings (1990s). In fact, digital recordings started in 1972 when Nippon Columbia Co of Japan introduced the first professional digital audio converter - a technology using a process called Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) and a standard video recorder. PCM translates audio signals into binary information that can be stored and manipulated in a variety of ways; and digital editing can be performed with an excellent precision.

Overview of Technology, Recording Industry and Society
Due to the significant growth of technology over the decades, sound recordings can now be easily made in many devices such as stereo in the cars, mobile phones, MP3 players, televisions, etc. through digital technology. In fact, Digital audio is quite useful in the recording, mass-production and distribution of sound. Nowadays, music can be distributed online by digital recording and data compression. Regardless of a few drawbacks of digital technology, it is thus notable that the development of technology contributes to the society to receive the new production of music in fastest and convenient way; and to the music industry to reduce the costs of production and distribution. Technology also changed the insights of Society influenced by changes to previous generation inventions:- the first personal music players, cassettes stored music. However, it seemed fragile when compact disks appeared. Later, as compact disks also seemed to be too large and limited, the MP3 players, small but holding large amount of data, were created. The recent innovations of digital devices such as smart phones and tablets have drawn the attentions from the consumers since they can not only make phone calls, texts and take pictures but also includes easy access to music and all stuffs via cellular and WiFi networks. The consumers are always keeping up modern digital devices with the software applications to make recordings and editing on their phones and tablets. Thus, societal preferences have influenced the changes of technology as well. Another impact of technology has been on the...
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