Recently, a video of a toddler demanding that Alexa play her favourite song Baby Shark went viral on social media.
Now what does that tell you about the great strides taken by the music industry over the last couple of years supported by digital innovation and technology? We have come a long way from listening to music via tapes, vinyl and CDs towards streaming platforms.
Let’s take a look at how the industry evolved over the years.
Acoustical Recording Era (1877 to 1925)
The earliest method involved the live recording of a performance directly to a recording medium by a mechanical process, often called acoustical recording. These recorders used a large conical horn to collect and focus the physical air pressure of the sound waves produced by the human voice or musical instruments.These recordings were of low fidelity and volume & records sound spectrum (from around 250 Hz up to about 2,500 Hz).
By the end of the acoustic era, the moving recording disc, had become the standard medium for sound recording, and its dominance in the domestic audio market lasted until the end of the 20th century.
Electrical Recording Era, (1925 to 1945)
Until the mid-1920s records were played on purely mechanical record players.The arrival of electrical recording in 1925 made it possible to use sensitive microphones to capture the sound and greatly improved the audio quality of records. These microphones had the balance of high and low frequencies could be controlled, and the signal could be amplified to such a level that was accurate recording.
Magnetic Recording Era, (1945 to 1975)
The real shift from acoustic recording to magnetic recording was through the introduction of magnetic tape. The world’s first practical magnetic tape recorder, the ‘K1’, was created in 1935. With this technique, an inaudible high-frequency signal, typically in the range of 50 to 150 kHz, is added to theaudio signal.This technique radically improved the sound quality of magnetic tape recordings.
Digital Recording Era, (1975 to the present day)
The fourth and current phase, the digital era, has seen the most rapid and far-reaching series of changes in the history of audio recording. CDs were small, portable and durable, and they could reproduce the entire audible sound spectrum,(From 20 Hz to 20KHz)with unrestricted dynamic range, perfect clarity and no distortion.
The Compact Disc almost totally dominated the consumer audio market by the end of the 20th century, but within another decade, rapid developments in computing technology— the digital audio file (.wav, .mp3 and other formats) & commercial innovations such as Apple’s iTunes media application, and their hugely popular iPod portable media player.
Music streaming services have become popular since the late 2000s. Streaming audio does not require the listener to download or own audio files. Instead, they listen over the internet.
In fact, a new report has revealed that Indians spend more time listening to music than the rest of the world.
In India too, streaming now brings in 70 per cent of the Rs 1,068 crore the industry made in early 2019. The music industry has reported considerable growth over the years. Both audio and video streaming grew 30 per cent during the earlier part of the year. Streaming now brings in 70 per cent of the Rs 1,068 crore the industry made in early 2019.
Now, musicians can create, spread and publicise their music quicker than ever before. Not only this, but modern streaming services have allow consumers with access to songs at the touch of a button (or the utter of a word, in the case of voice recognition technology like Alexa). Take the case of the adorable baby from the video for instance.
While social media and the proliferation of various platforms has also brought to the forefront grey areas such as piracy and music royalty tracking, Artificial Intelligence, Analytics and Big Data should leapfrog the industry forward by discarding outdated manual processes.