Quite recently it would’ve seemed like sci-fi: casually looking over huge number of tracks on our technology square shapes each day on the train to work. In any case, how in the world did we arrive?
The historical backdrop of music technology is sprinkled with forward leaps that liberated individuals from imperatives. Radio implied at this point don’t genuinely going to a live presentation on the off chance that you needed to pay attention to music. Vinyl gave individuals the alternative of playing records they possessed instead of being adhered paying attention to whatever was on the radio at that point. Then, at that point tapes made an individual music assortment convenient, so you could pay attention to it anyplace.
We’re now deep in the digital era, untangling recorded music’s historical link with physical media – and things are changing at speed. Just 15 years ago, people were excited to own a device the size of a deck of cards that stored a thousand songs. Now, countless pieces of internet-connected hardware offer instant access to tens of millions of music tracks.
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Once upon a time, in a land that some of us are so lucky to remember, people had to leave the house to buy music. We would count down the days until a new album dropped, and sometimes, we would even line up outside of the record store to make sure we could get our hands on a copy — because, believe it or not, there was a time when albums actually sold out.
Surprisingly, Edison didn’t set out to create the phonograph as a way of consuming music. Rather, its 1877 invention was more of an expansion upon his earlier work on the telegraph (invented by Samuel Morse) and the telephone (invented by Alexander Graham Bell and Antonio Meucci). He thought that a spoken message — like a verbal version of a telegraph, but recorded — could be captured and reproduced. As it turns out, it worked, which he found out after testing a rhyme on the earliest prototype.
But when Edison published “The Phonograph and Its Future” in an 1878 issue of the North American Review, he hypothesized, “The phonograph will undoubtedly be liberally devoted to music. A song sung on the phonograph is reproduced with marvelous accuracy and power.”
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The (Permanently) Digital Era
Before the invention of the iPod, there was the late 1980s creation of the MP3 — “a means of compressing a sound sequence into a very small file, to enable digital storage and transmission.” And although it’s far from the only audio file format available today, its introduction prompted a larger conversation about the digital transfer and consumption of music.
And Then, Radio Came Back
Despite its own instability, Napster set the tone for continued opportunities in the realm of streaming music. The iTunes Store continued to expand its music library, and also began offering paid movie and TV show downloads. But developers and entrepreneurs alike began creating solutions to the problem presented to many by iTunes — the ability to discover new and listen to music digitally, without having to download song files or pay-per-track. Thus, internet radio was born.
Many point to Pandora — a free, personalized online radio app — as the true pioneer in this space, but it came to fruition around the same time (the early 2000s) as a few others offering similar services, like Last.fm. But these apps didn’t just provide a simple service. They were starting to get smart about algorithms — hence the personalization element. By indicating that you liked a particular song or artist, these new services had developed the algorithmic technology to figure out what else you might like, and stream it automatically.
Plus, they were able to monetize — fast. It wasn’t long before Pandora was airing ads between songs, and eventually offered a paid, ad-free option for listeners.
But a lot of progress was being made in the space, and in a short period of time. The 2007 release of the iPhone was even more of a game-changer, with these formerly desktop-only apps offering a mobile option. That made it rival iTunes even more — consumers weren’t beholden to Apple for music download or streaming options. That effect was exacerbated by the premiere of Spotify the following year, which now outranks Pandora. Like the latter, Spotify offers both a free and premium (read: ad-free) version.
Spotify and a TIDAL wave
In 2008, the tipping point happened. Spotify set up this load of things. Streaming sound and further developed buyer web network made continuous excellent sound playback practical – and it would adjust to transmission capacity requirements, as well. The more you tuned in, the more Spotify’s proposals improved. Also, interestingly, an index that even Napster couldn’t contend with was yours for ten bucks each month.
Spotify’s somewhat lethargic extension outside of a couple of European nations (it was 2011 preceding it shown up in the USA) gave space to different organizations to offer their own takes on the model. From that point forward, goliaths including Apple, Google and Amazon have scrambled on board the stream train – as have numerous more modest organizations, each looking to separate themselves likely.