Before modern technology, the music industry consisted of live shows and word of mouth. As technology progressed, the music industry has gained new opportunities for exposure. A few decades ago, it had to go to great lengths to get their product to the masses. Now, we can have music at our fingertips anytime we choose. It gets ever more creative in its advances to meet the needs of their fans.
Phonographs were possibly the earliest form of media the music industry had available to market to society. Invented in 1877, phonographs played record, which were large, and hard to store. For their time, phonographs were revolutionary. They allowed people to play music anytime they wanted in the comfort of their own home. In 1897 the first radio station was invented. Radios didn’t become widespread until much later, so it wasn’t much changed at that time. Live performances were still the main form of delivery for the music industry. Big bands were often found performing at music clubs, drawing large crowds. With the invention of talking motion pictures, much of the popularity of live music shows died out. It rebounded, putting all their energy into record sales and syndicated radio shows. In the mid 1950s, transistor radios allowed music lovers to carry their music with them, furthering the music industries’ ability to reach their fans.
It wasn’t until 1964 that the industry saw a leap in music media technology. Until then, record sales had been popular, but society was demanding a more portable form of recorded music. 1964 brought the 8 track tape into the music industry. 8 tracks were a big boost for the music industry because they were more durable and easier to carry than a record. 8 track tapes could be played at home or in the car. In the early 1970s, the cassette tape began to replace 8 tracks as the primary media for the music industry. Cassette tapes were smaller, more durable, and better quality than 8 tracks. For the next 20 years, cassette tapes allowed it to mass produce more music than ever before. Fans had musical freedom to carry their choice of music nearly everywhere with them after the invention of the Sony Walkman in the late 1970s. Both radio and cassettes could be played directly into headphones with the Walkman, revolutionizing the way people listened to music. In the early 1980s, compact discs once again changed the way we listened to music. Compact discs had a clearer sound quality than cassette disks, and they were much smaller to store. Compact discs are still popular, but the most recent advance in technology to benefit this industry is the internet. Downloading music is now one of the most common ways for people to support the music industry. Music can be downloaded to cell phones, mp3 players, and I Pods.
The music industry has weathered a lot of change in the way they deliver music to us. Over the years, they’ve found the most technologically advanced ways to get music into our homes and our lives. Modern music is available nearly anytime, or anywhere, often not even requiring a computer. You can bet it will continue to lead the entire entertainment industry in finding new ways to keep our attention.