Since its creation and early days, the music industry, recording methods and channels of distribution have changed many times over. What began as a simple invention has blossomed in time to be a billion dollar industry spanning multiple channels of media to include television, movies and theater as well. With incidences such as corporate convergence and the more recent processes of digital distribution, the industry itself has had to evolve to keep up with the times.
To some, Thomas Edison Is considered to be the first recording artist. HIS phonograph was first device that could actually reproduce the recorded sound. Additionally, Edition’s workshop has been stated to be one of the most successful illustrations of media convergence to date, with the invention of the phonograph, together with wireless and cameras, as well as the power to run them (Olive. 2012). Technology quickly advanced, improvements were made to the phonograph and before long the gramophone was invented, the record album was born, and history being made.
By the late sass’s and the early uses, home phonograph systems were very common. With the entertainment and music Industry galling popularity, those that could afford the systems enjoyed listening to the recorded music in their homes. During the mid sass’s, the emergence of the radio/phonograph set with automatic record changers brought about an early example of converged technology and showed that radio and the recording industry could survive together. After WI, the recording methods changed and 78 sized records were phased out as ass’s and Lips became more popular.
Recording onto these types of records were the popular method through the sass’s, with the technology of the turntable advancing to be a very precise Instrument. The sound they delivered were great for the time, but the fragility of the record album, and its ability to scratch fairly easily and ruin the sound, brought about yet another change in the recording industry. The next changeover came along with the appearance of the eight-track and cassette tapes. The ability to record on theses smaller magnetic tapes helped to make music more portable.
Instead of having only the radio to listen to while driving, the option of being able to install an eight track or cassette player appealed to nonusers, allowing them to carry their favorite recorded songs with them to listen to as they please. Additionally, home stereo equipment evolved again and sound systems with multiple playback features were created, showing another example of technological convergence. As time passed, recording methods changed again and the CD became the more popular mode of distribution.
Throughout those years, although the methods of recording, distribution and play back changed with technology, the recording industry itself was coming into being a big money maker 1 OFF musicians usually started out by playing in local clubs and hot spots. They would take on Jobs and gigs to gain both experience and exposure, hoping to get noticed and have the next big hit. For some the big break would come when asked to open up for a larger more recognized artist or band; that was a sure fire way to be seen by record labels who could potentially sign them on and promote their music.
There were many small record labels that started out during the early days of radio such as Stab records (originally Satellite Records), located in Memphis, as well as Mouton Records in Detroit, each recording different genres of music. Countless there emerged throughout the country as well as abroad, including the Beetle’s own ‘Apple Records, with which they recorded and produced their own albums. These smaller labels partnered with the larger record companies for their distribution channels. By early sass’s the five major record labels were Columbia, RCA Victor, Decca, Capitol and Mercury (Copper, 2012).
In 1970 WEE was formed under Warner Communications. This partnership between three labels, Warner, Elektra and Atlantic, created a huge distribution operation and is another example of corporate convergence. By the mid sass’s all of the major labels were owned by a very few multinational companies under the control of corporate umbrella called a music groups, which were owned by international conglomerates. As of 2005, the “Big Four” Sony, MI, Universal Music Group, WEE, controlled approximately 70% of the Normal’s music distribution market.
These “Big Four” music group companies are also involved in other aspects of media, such as television, radio and movie production, once again showing media convergence in the corporate world. Within the recording industry itself there are many key roles for traditional music recording and striation. The artist, who writes the tune and lyrics, the A&R who finds the talent; the record label then produces the album which is next sent to packaging. Rhea marketing department gets the word out to the masses and gets the album in the stores. However, with the advent of the internet, the traditional model of music distribution is changing.
Disintermediation has changed the need for some of these roles, as artists can now record their own music with the help of some computer software and technological devices. Their songs can be uploaded to websites such s tunes and Youth and they can become overnight success stories. Such was the case for Justine Briber and Seems Tenders, both Youth sensations. The help of the internet distribution channel allows for artists to bypass some of the steps in the traditional method of music production, and has allowed some to shoot right up the top of the charts. He arrival of digital recording onto Cad’s helped to shape new distribution channels and changed the music industry completely. Not long after the innovation of the method of digital recording, the internet became another channel of digital striation of music. The development of one of the first MPH players, the ROI, sparked consumer interest in portable digital music. This new interest brought about a popular trend that took place during the early sass’s, that of peer to peer and illegal file sharing.
The creation of Anapest, the most famous of the APP file sharing network websites, produced entertainment and copyright lawsuits and the demands of music availability online increased, more digital outlets emerged which led to the closures of many of the traditional record album and CD stores. The local cord stores, which were once the hot spots for young teens during the sass’s, have become a thing of the past. Instead, today’s teens are on their computers or mobile devices, seeking out websites such as Youth or tunes, looking for the latest hits.
The internet has aided in the convergence of media and technology, made possible through high speed internet access, and has become a major distribution channel for the music industry (New York Times, 2003). Web retailers such as Amazon. Com allow for more choices and availability for the consumer and their listening preferences. Without the need to keep open expensive shelf space for the popular artists Cad’s, they have the ability to carry many more titles than a traditional brick and mortar store could ever be able to offer their customers.
With the addition of Amazon Cloud Music, listeners can configure playbills, rate, review and share with their friends via social networking websites (Matrix, 2011). Consumers have easily conformed to this new distribution channel, as it allows not only the purchase of a traditional CD if one is willing to wait for its arrival in the mail, but also the purchase of digital music for instant download to our computers and mobile music devices or to the cloud. tunes is also one of the largest retailers of digital music, providing countless choices of music, artists, and genre’s with continued and instant availability.
As of February, 2010, Apple had sold more than 10 Billion songs on tunes alone (Arthur, 2010). Songs as well as other forms of entertainment such as videos, games and mobile applications, are available for purchase for instant download and accessibility. Even the large corporate giants have entered into the digital music game. Major retailers such as Best Buy and Wall-Mart sell music online as well as in their traditional stores together with merchandise ranging from groceries to home appliances.
The ability for these online music retailers to offer millions of choices provides more revenue than that of being able to offer only a few different choices to consumers. Throughout the history of the recording industry, and the many changes that have taken place, there is one constant that remains; the society of the times dictates the trends and helps to shape the future of technological innovation. Amid the growth of the home computer industry, the metallization of music editing programs and devices gave up and coming artists the means to create their own digitally recorded music.
By way of the internet, these same recordings were able to be easily uploaded to private or public websites with the possibility of being viewed or listened to by millions. Additionally, the metallization of internet radio has played its part as well. Internet radio stations, such as Pandora, contain music from countless independent artists who might have never been heard if the venue did not exist. The outcome of all this technology has helped to create a society that has become used to “everything, everywhere”, one that is comfortable with the “three Co’s” of media convergence – transformed to include all types of media. Pods have become the most popular portable music device; some have the ability to access the internet, send and receive emails, and even store and play pictures and video. Mobile phones and tablets also provide access to the internet, giving the end user the opportunity to shop and keep up with news and current events at any time of the day, anywhere there is a injection. Some of these devices can even be used as e-readers and store a library of magazines, stories, and novels. Convergence has allowed for businesses to profit in various different channels.
Revenues come from the sales of albums in the retail stores, sales from the music videos that have become so popular with the younger crowds, ticket sales for live concert shows as well as revenues from digital downloads of either single songs or entire albums. Additionally, each time the method of recording changed, so did the systems that were sold to the masses to listen to them. From the early phonograph systems in the sass’s to today’s pod’s, phones, auto, home and computer playback systems, there are many companies that have also profited from each of the changes.
Who knew that Thomas Edition’s newfangled invention of the time, a device that could reproduce the recorded sound, would end up being used in conjunction with early broadcasting and entertainment, and would help the industry grow to be $40 billion the sass’s. As Rave (2008) states, convergence changes what was once a solitary activity, such as listening to the radio, into a shared collective media experience. Receiving my music, news and entertainment together and immediately has become a way of life, but again, who knows what the future holds.