The history of music in the 20th century can’t be told without the history of the recording industry. Changes in technology have shaped how music sounds, how it is consumed by audiences, and how musicians make a living. For many listeners, recorded music is the norm–most people who proclaim their love for music consume it exclusively in a recorded format, as opposed to making music themselves or seeing it performed live (both of these have added benefits for the brain that recorded music doesn’t, however).

History

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John Philip Sousa (1854-1932)

The proliferation of recording technology has not been met by everyone with enthusiasm. The American composer John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) foresaw extreme negative repercussions of the new phonograph (invented in 1877 by Thomas Edison), which was quickly becoming a common feature in American homes. In his article “The Menace of Mechanical Music” in Appleton’s Magazine, Vol. 8 (1906), Sousa outlines the threat that recorded music posed to home music making. At the turn of the 20th century, a large majority of Americans learned to play an instrument or make music themselves, and the US far exceeded other countries in this regard. But Sousa feared, and rightly so as history has proven, that with increased easy access to recorded music, there would be less incentive for non-professional musicians to make music themselves:

This wide love [in America] for the art [of music] springs from the singing school, secular or sacred; from the village band, and from the study of those instruments that are nearest the people. There are more pianos, violins, guitars, mandolins, and banjos among the working classes of America than in all the rest of the world, and the presence of these instruments in the homes has given employment to enormous numbers of teachers who have patiently taught the children and inculcated a love for music throughout the various communities.

Right here is the menace in machine-made music!… The cheaper of these instruments of the home are no longer being purchased as formerly, and all because the automatic music devices are usurping their places.

And what is the result? The child becomes indifferent to practice, for when music can be heard in the homes without the labor of study and close application, and without the slow process of acquiring a technic [i.e., technical skill], it will be simply a question of time when the amateur disappears entirely, and with him a host of vocal and instrumental teachers, who will be without field or calling.

Sousa feared the (inevitable) future of music making by living, live humans being supplanted by pre-recorded music because he believed that recorded music captured none of the human essence or “soul” of music. He described the phonograph as “a mechanical device to sing for us a song or play for us a piano, in substitute for human skill, intelligence, and soul.” He also worried about the potential effect on children, the next generation of whom would grow up surrounded almost exclusively by recorded music rather than music being made by live people:

Children are naturally imitative, and if, in their infancy, they hear only phonographs, will they not sing, if they sing at all, in imitation and finally become simply human phonographs – without soul or expression?

He concludes his essay with a final appeal to the humanity of music:

Music teaches all that is beautiful in this world. Let us not hamper it with a machine that tells the story day by day, without variation, without soul, barren of the joy, the passion, the ardor that is the inheritance of man alone.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of sound technology, a good overview is available here, and a good history of record labels is available here.

Perfectionism and listener expectations

The ascendancy and primacy of recorded music in the 20th century has changed how music is heard as well as how it is made. Improvements in microphones, mixers, and the advent of digital recording processes and editing software have all made it much easier to produce music that sounds excellent: rich, clear, enticing, and beautiful. Compare these two recordings of Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131 (1826): the first was recorded by the Léner String Quartet in 1924 — in addition to the omnipresent hiss of the recording technology itself, the sound is tinny, thin, and far-away, with very little audible dynamic or timbral contrast:

On the other hand, a live performance by the American String Quartet in 2013 is clear, conveys all the nuances and subtleties of the players, and has an overall rich or round sound quality:

The ubiquity of recorded music has two major effects on how we consume music and what we expect from it as listeners:

  1. Music should sound perfect; and
  2. Music should sound perfect all the time.
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Inside a recording studio

When a classical musician makes an album (except for recordings of live performances), the goal is a product that is worth listening to multiple times, one without glaring flaws and that is thoughtful and interesting to listen to. The process is comprised of obsessing over details: it is a painstaking marathon of recording every sound over and over again, sometimes playing the same 15 seconds of music (called a “take”) dozens of times to make sure that all aspects of the performance match with what the musician intended (timing, vibrato, intonation, coordination, tone quality). Then, the musician(s) will select the best takes, and the sound engineer will digitally stitch all these patchwork pieces of the performance together so that every single sound is as “perfect” as it can be. I recorded an album in September, and we took 55 takes of one nine-minute piece of music (this is quite a small number for most classical recordings); then I listened all the takes and told the engineer that I wanted the first 3 notes from take 4, followed by two measures from take 15, then two beats from take 1, etc. all the way through the piece. All the takes are my playing, but I’m essentially creating a Frankenstein performance of it, choosing the mini-performances in which I best executed my intentions. (We’re in the first round of edits right now, will do a final mixing in January or so, then we will spend the next 4-5 months writing the liner notes, taking publicity photos, and shopping the album to record labels, and we’ll release the album mid-summer–the entire recording musicprocess takes about a year).

A shift in the way that music is released has allowed for an even-higher degree of perfectionism to creep into the pop music industry, as well. In the past when physical CDs were the primary form of music distribution, the process of releasing music took much longer than it does now. After writing music, recording it in the studio, mixing, and editing, it would take around 6 weeks for the audio to be encoded onto CDs, CD jackets and booklets to be printed, and the product to be physically shipped to record stores. During this time, there would be a press tour to amp up excitement for the release, followed by a release party and scheduled date that consumers could purchase the album in stores. Audiences had to be patient, and artists couldn’t go back an alter their work once the marketing timeline had begun. However, most artists today rely much more heavily (or even exclusively) on digital releases of their work: uploading music to SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, or YouTube. This means that the lead time between finishing a recording and making it available to the public can be reduced to a few hours rather than weeks. It also means that artists don’t necessarily have to adhere to firm deadlines and can instead continue to alter their music as long as they like–if they push back the drop date by a few hours, a couple days, or a year, there isn’t an expensive pre-scheduled marketing campaign or tour that is thrown out of whack. An article by Joe Coscarelli in The New York Times (August 5, 2016) outlines the ways in which established and new artists use the Internet to release their music (and have the flexibility to continue to tweak their tracks to meet their perfectionist creative standards). He discusses primarily Frank Ocean but also Kanye West, Beyonce, and independent artists:  Coscarelli, the Sudden Digital Drop – The New York Times

So what does this perfectionism do to the live music experience? On the classical side, there is a general expectation that the live performance will be as flawless as the studio version. It’s an impossibly high standard! Some audiophiles (people who love recorded sound) find live performances frustrating because the sound is imperfect: musicians make mistakes in live performances, people in the audience cough or shuffle their papers, or the sound in the hall might not be as pure as it is on their home speaker system.

Because most audience members come into contact with pieces of music first through recordings (perfect recordings!), their ears are primed to expect that every time they hear a given piece it will sound as perfect as their favorite recording. In turn, performers try to give the audience what they want: a flawless performance that matches a great recording. The problem with a flawless performance is that in order to play flawlessly, you must practice flawlessly–over and over and over again, until every sound comes out exactly the same way every single time and matches audience’s expectations. Performers are far less likely today to try something new or unprecedented on stage than they were in the 19th century or first half of the 20th century. This modern performance style is not creative and this is not soulful–it’s the very thing Sousa feared in 1906.

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Milli Vanilli

The expectation that a live performance will match the crisp, coordinated, and sumptuous sound of a recorded album affects how many non-classical musicians perform, as well. Since the 1960s, the use of pre-recorded backing tracks for all or some of the sounds that comprise a “live” performance has become nearly ubiquitous (including vocals, backing vocals, instrumental tracks). There are many possible permutations of this, described here and here. To some degree this makes sense, since performers can’t dance and sing well simultaneously (think about what happens to your voice when you try to talk while jogging or doing jumping jacks). Sometimes “live” performances are completely fake, as with this list of examples from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beyonce, Eminem, Nirvana, Milli Vanilli, Ashlee Simpson, and Jay-Z. And “Lip Sync Battle” was so popular on Jimmy Fallon that it’s now its own spin-off show hosted by LL Cool J–it’s as if we love the energy and illusion of performance but not necessarily the music making.

Smoke and mirrors

So much happens behind the scenes in pop music that comprises an artist’s public identity or image: making them sound the way they do by writing lyrics and producing tracks, making them look the way they do through fashion and styling, making them have a particular persona through interview coaching, scheduling appearances at certain events, creating beefs with other artists, or selling photographs to tabloids. An “artist” is oftentimes actually an army of several dozen people working together to create a coherent marketing product (that happens to include music). For example, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Kesha, Pink, Nicki Minaj, David Guetta, The Weeknd, Fifth Harmony, Maroon 5, Ace of Base, Backstreet Boys, and Britney Spears are all pop artists who present distinctly different personas and musical identities to the public, but much of their music is all written by the handful of song writers: Max Martin and Dr. Luke, often working together, or Karl Martin Sandberg. Max Martin’s writing credit discography ranges from Bon Jovi to Ariana Grande; Dr. Luke’s is similarly prolific, including Three 6 Mafia and Weezer. Other ubiquitous songwriters who have created the musical identities of headlining artists over the last 30 years include Babyface, Pharrell Williams, RedOne, Rick Rubin, and Sia.

Making money

When musician’s recordings are played on various digital platforms, we as consumers generally pay little or nothing for the experience. YouTube, Spotify, and Pandora all include advertising on their basic levels of service (free for the consumer); it seems like artists are probably compensated for their work through ad revenue and that popular artists make significant money for their efforts because so many people are listening to their music. However, these business models pay musicians very little: Spotify pays between $0.006 to $o.0084 per play; Pandora pays either $0.0014 (non-subscribers) or $0.0025 (subscribers) per play–and depending on an artist’s contract with their record label, they’ll receive only around 40% of that money. The songwriter for “All About that Bass,” sung by Meghan Trainor, is Kevin Kadish. The song was unequivocally popular in 2014 and was played 178 million times on Pandora, but for this Kadish received a check for $5,679; another songwriter whose work was played just over one million times was paid $16.89. The less-popular but still successful band La Roux earns approximately £100 for three months of streaming. Taylor Swift doesn’t include her music in Spotify’s streaming catalogue for this very reason–it devalues the art:

Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free.

(It’s also worth noting that Swift is in a position of considerable privilege–she can reject the means by which less-established or less well-known artists connect with new listeners because she is already successful and also because she makes money via other avenues, such as ticket sales for her live shows.)

streaming-sites

A non-class discussion blog post this semester already touched on the consumer psychology of not wanting to pay for music. The irony of recorded music being ubiquitous in our lives (meaning that we can’t imagine our daily activities without it and that we prize its perfection) is that it seems we value it–the soul of it, Sousa would argue–less than ever.

Final thoughts

Recorded music is democratizing in a way: access to music is unprecedented. Even 10 years ago it would have been unthinkable to call up a piece of music on demand on the Internet — Pandora was launched in 2000, YouTube in 2005, and Spotify in 2008 — and until 2012 record labels clung to the notion that they would always be releasing music in a physical format, such as CDs. At the same time, access to seemingly any recording (not true, but it feels that way) has created an even deeper division between creators and consumers. There are professionals who make music (including hidden behind-the-scenes musicians who do most of the heavy lifting in terms of musical creation), and there are passive consumers who receive it, which is an entirely undemocratic relationship.

-Dr. J.

Some discussion questions to get the conversation going:

  1. How do you prefer to experience music: recorded (videos are recordings, too!), performed live, making it yourself? Why?
  2. What parallels do you see between the recording industry’s effect on music making and the way other industries have had (unintended) effects on how consumers behave, their expectations, or the product itself?

105 thoughts on “The recording industry (Online Class Discussion #7)

  1. i like to u prefer to experience music like recorded a video because i want to see how good i am in singing. This allows me to better express myself, when you are recording a video or music which can effectively improve your self-confidence, you can also better express the meaning you want to express. I think this is a very good experience. After you recording, you can put it on the youtube, maybe someday you will get very famous。

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  2. I perfer to hear music through my headphones because you can hear every thing that makes the music what it is. From low vocals in the background to beats you wouldnt hear through a TV or live performance.

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    1. I like to listen to music if the headphones gives you clear sounds. You have to buy expensive ones to hear crisp sounds

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    1. Yes just like what i say before I think it is very important to be able to see, and hear the music. So i can more clearly feel or experience these music

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        1. such a great question! i dont think there is a definitive answer for this. I know for me, i enjoy music way more when i am able to see either a live performance or an incredible visual. i think we experience more than we realize through sight and when we experience music both sonically and visually, we are giving that piece more of our attention than we would if we were either just listening or viewing it.

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    2. Yes live performances can be litt depending on who you see and if you like them, what type of energy they bring, if they actually interact with the crowd, all of these components matter when you are talking about live performances it is what makes the performance abnormal

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    3. Live performances are great but without all the musical effects added to the performance or artists piece it doesn’t sound the same. For instance, a live performance by an artist may sound good but when that same song is aired on TV or on the radio it may sound 10 times better . Also the tricky thing with live performances today is that you never know if the artist is really singing or performing or just “lip syncing.”

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    4. I like live performances because I get the feeling of knowing what the artist is like when he is not in the studio.what he or she sound like when there sound or not edited.i get to hear there true voice and know there true reaction when performing the song and even To know how it impact me physically and mentally when I see it live compared to when I listen it on my phone or radio ,tv etc

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      1. To add on to that when you experience live music, you do not feel so removed from the art itself. You are actually participating in it. Although, one could argue the listener is still participating through their headphones or television scree, being physically there allows you to absorb a particular artist or group in ways you can not do through technology.

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    5. I do because I think it’s a unique experience, there is a certain energy I think in any live performance that can’t be repeated with a recorded one.

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    6. I enjoy Live performances, I prefer to listen to an artist live I feel more in the spirit especially if I’m surrounded by other people that have the same joy and passion when seeing and artist perform.

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      1. I feel that the live performance distracts me from the music due to the amount of people that want to interact with you or just the setting itself.

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    1. It really depend on the popularity of the artist since the most famous musician could make millions of dollar just from one song either through licencing deals with music studios or from advertisement online. The amount of revenue that they receive from their music solely depends on the fame of the musician and how many people by their songs which can as I stated before amount from thousands of dollars to millions and what they of music company they partner with and the connection they have on the industry.

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    2. It depends no artist makes the same amount of money from a song, a really popular artist can make millions of dollars while someone who’s just coming into the musical industry won’t be making as much , I think it really depends on your Fame in society.

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  3. i prefer to watch a video, it can make me better, so I can more clearly to see or hear these works. I think it is very important to be able to see, and hear is more important. So you can more clearly feel or experience these music

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    1. I think the ability to rewind at your own will also helps with the process of listening to a song as it allows you the go over something you didn’t understand.

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  4. I most prefer to experience recorded music since they’re easy to access to and can be found anywhere such as the comfort of your home. Most of the music that’re recorded are free and can be found online on the internet without any cost which is better then live music that you must travel to and pay a ticket to experience the music. In the modern age most if not all the notable musician had record music on various media platform such as dvd, tape and on video and help to allow millions of people to enjoy their music and able to experience music video which aren’t possible during live performances. Many people had said that recorded music are artificial and you wouldn’t be able to listen to raw music created from the musician very soul. This is irrelevant to me because music is music whether they’re created live or recorded in a studio it’s all creation created by the musician.

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    1. I agree completely! It’s good to have that sense of individualism while listening to music because you definitely take more away from the music.

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  5. How do you think the recording industry help make music available to the mass? Do you think that it help musician or help them?

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    1. The way music is currently distributed isn’t ideal for the musician or the industry but streaming became a necessity to turn the consumer away from the ease of piracy. Ever since the Napster revolution in the 90’s, the industry has fought against music streaming but finally in this decade has realized they simply have to beat the piracy services at their own game by distributing through Spotify and Apple Music, even though they are making a fraction of what they did in the 70’s.

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  6. Listening to recorded music, seeing it live, and making it are three entirely different experiences, and each, for me, provide a different value. I don’t know which of the three I really prefer, they are each just different experiences. I think the music industry, like most industries, did not initially bend the expectations of the consumer but instead bent to the expectation of the consumer, abiding by Adam Smith’s “invisible hand.” Now however, it seems the pop formula has become so ubiquitous that most people haven’t had the good practice to be able to properly hear non-factory-produced music. So at this point it seems the industry has bent us.This is the same in film. Out of the 10 highest grossing films of all time, 8 are action films, and all but titanic and avatar were released in the 2010’s. When Avatar came out, it’s success set the standard for modern blockbusters and since then all the most profitable movies of this decade, have followed James Cameron’s formula. Just as modern music follows the same stale structure to maximize profits.

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    1. After reading your response I feel like money influences music more than actual life experiences. Would you agree?

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      1. Depends on which spectrum of music you are looking at. There will always be a market for different kinds of music because there will always be people who want to be different. Music is a business for most of the industry of course, but there are certainly a lot of people involved in music primarily committed to the art, and are probably driven, like you said, by “life experiences.”

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  7. Music has changed in a big way and you can see two of the most interesting ways in this blog post. notice the difference in live and recorded music and also another major change was CD and streaming. i never even knew that after the recording editing and mixing process was done it took about 6 extra weeks to make CD,s and Jackets for them, Seems like the streaming thing comes in handy more

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    1. This is a interesting question since artist often need to partner up with music studio in order for them to have the opportunity for the music to be spread widely through the community. The question about their song not getting what their really worth can be half right and half wrong since it depends on how popular their music are widely approve among the listeners and the amount brought. If their music isn’t as widely receive then the studio who partner with the musician will earn less revenue and the musician less money on the sales.

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    2. If it’s a ghost writer than no because they’re the one beside the scenes while the pop stars are is the one the ones who get all the glory at the same time if this ghost writer is working for the record label as long as the music sells then he or she will make some good money.

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  8. I would prefer to experience music recorded like through videos because it help you to view yourself as an artist and make adjustments or improvements for the future recordings. With a video it can act as a visual aid to help the listener better interpret your message that you maybe sending through your musical piece. Do you think that a video can add value to a musical piece or take away value from that piece? (For example some people enjoy the videos and get caught up in the visual effects, therefore neglecting the musical effects)

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  9. I prefer to experience music through headphones but I love going to concerts. Going to concerts and experiencing music that way is the way I prefer to listen to music.

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  10. To be honest I prefer to listen to music live because that will spectate elite artist from the rest. All the technology can turn a so so artist into a good one then when it comes time to perform it live most people don’t sound the same. I love when your at a concert and the performance is exactly like listening to the cd.

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    1. I feel it’s half and half because some music we listen to are inspirational but some of the music we hear just make us get hooked so the music industry can make money off of it.

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    2. I think I depends on the genre. It’s probably a case by case sorta deal. I would guess pop music leaning labels are more looking for the branding, the money.

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  11. I like to listen to my music live. Although listening to music through a recording can be convenient, It’s nice sometimes to buy a concert ticket and enjoy my music live. Going to concerts and listening to music give one a different experience. You get to hear some instruments that you probably didn’t hear through a recording. You feel with one with the music when you’re at the concert because everyone is focused to listening to that one song or the music they play you.

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  12. I prefer to listen to recordings. Personally, I feel like it’s more inspirational and I can take more away from it. Seeing live music is good but I can’t really meditate on it since everything is happening in that moment. Recordings can be played an infinite amount of times so it’s fun to dissect it and see how the artist thinks. As an artist myself it’s fun to compare our ideas and views on life, love, or other worldly things. I believe that music is made to reflect our feelings of the lives we live. So with that in mind, the recording labels that make certain types of music “popular” can corrupt a society or culture. By allowing one voice to speak for everyone that can make some people feel belittled and put everyone under the illusion that some people are superior to others.

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  13. Do you think our music changed because of the way technology developed? Or do you think our music changed because of the influences in our society?

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    1. I think music is changed by both societal influences and changing technology. The lyrical content is the most easily noticeable example of changes based on societal influences, with many songs sharing similar messages and themes. Consider many of the radio hits to come out in the last few years; many of them share very similar themes, especially dealing in relationship drama in some form or another or the craziness which comes with going out to parties. There are also a number of similar tropes used between songs, with many using interjections or shouts at key points in the song to emphasize the beat or to keep the energy of the song flowing. Although musical content such as the composition of the songs I would attribute more to the technological development of modern day. Each form of recorded music has different variants in the way that the music will sound. The composition and performance of the song varies based on how the artist expects the music to be listened to. From records, cassette tapes, to CDs, to downloadable music listened to with headphones, each format provides the listener with a different experience and emphasizes or diminishes different aspects of the sound. So in a way, both are equally responsible for the changing sound of music. It all depends on what aspect of music you focus on.

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      1. I think its both, due to the fact technology has improved over the years and the influences of society. There are songs now that are considered a classic or vintage because its portrayed as outdated. Music is constantly changing because the world that we live in is also changing. We have technology now that’s able to play instruments and sounds that wasn’t able to do so years ago where everything was physically done. Now and days Dj’s are considered artists.

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    2. I believe that both technology and influences in our society has influenced today’s music industry. Social, political and our everyday struggles has impacted today’s artist and therefore our music industry.

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    3. i think the music change because of the influence of the society, because most of the music that is making is from the chnages or the act in the society.

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  14. 1. How do you prefer to experience music: recorded (videos are recordings, too!), performed live, making it yourself? Why?

    From a personal perspective I like to experience music in all different ways. Music videos, recording or live performance all are great ways to introduce the art of music. I’m not too sure about the date this occurs but I remember watching a Tupac Hologram which is a new experience to bring back the past and introduce it to the future.

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    1. i believe both technology and society influence each other to impact music. Base on technology individuals now have unlimited access and techniques to produce sounds, melodies, beats etc. society is just the mental part of music that allows artists to convey their ideas within their product.

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  15. I enjoy both live performances and recordings of music for different reasons. I see the advantages of live performances, and I appreciate the talent and effort it takes to perform a piece in front of an audience. There is also the aspect of seeing the artists perform the piece themselves and the nuances to a live performance which differ from recordings and give the music performed a unique quality. For the overall experience, I prefer live performances. However, I prefer to listen to recorded music for analysis and to take in all of the nuances of the songs. With a live performance, the focus is put not just on the music, but also the performers, the setting, and the experience as one part of an audience. With recordings, the connection between you and the music is much more personal. You can play a song as many times as you like to gather all of the nuances and analyze just what it is about the song that you appreciate. With recorded music, while the song is always played the exact same way, it is much easier to break down the components of the music and understand what makes it so enjoyable. If I were to pick one I prefer over the other, however, I would have to pick live performances in terms of the experience of seeing the music being made and watching the nuances between the performers.

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  16. Do artists make more money from concert performances or downloads of their music? How much do illegal downloads of their songs hurt an artist’s profits?

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    1. I think artists make more money off downloads of their music. It would make a lot more sense since they get billions of downloads and concerts are for entertainment. Illegal downloads ruin an artists profit tremendously.

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    2. Artists make a considerably larger amount from concert performances/ticket sales. With music being so expensive to make, record companies taking in large percentages of compensation, illegal downloads, as so on, many artists don’t make a lot off of just their music. This is why so many go on large tours. Illegal downloads have a considerable affect on an artist’s profit. Sure, you downloading one song illegally isn’t going to necessarily make a huge difference, but it is all the people as a whole. This is why many artists put their music on sites which require a monthly fee, or from which they get money from ads and such.

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  17. I think artists make more money off downloads of their music. It would make a lot more sense since they get billions of downloads and concerts are for entertainment. Illegal downloads ruin an artists profit tremendously.

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  18. Music, much like every industry in entertainment, is now saturated. If you look on YouTube, there’s millions of people who are musicians in some way. There’s millions of singers and guitar players and piano players. Sure, not every household has music making a part of their everyday life, but most people, at one point in their life, tried learning some kind of instrument. And yeah, pop music is more of perfecting a brand, rather than putting genuine soul into the music. Even Michael Jackson was creating a brand. The final version of “Thriller” is like the hundredth version he and Quincy Jones wrote. I would say that that’s recording perfectionism done right. Did movies ruin live theater? A bit. But that doesn’t stop Broadway shows from thriving with various performances. Music has always been homogeneous. Every culture, everywhere there’s music. Even with the oversaturation of music, with weeding out the ones we like, people still make music to love music.

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    1. I believe that it is more expensive now to record music because the artist words for the recorded company and they take a percentage of what the song makes.

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  19. To some, the accessibility of making music has its negatives. However, it does have many positives as well. What are some examples of these positives?

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  20. I prefer to experience music recorded because I think it just sounds a lot better because the music has been perfected and approved by the artist. I feel like it heightens a feeling we are experiencing and it’s very convenient because you can pretty much access a recorded music anywhere you want. However I also do believe that experiencing music that is being performed live has a different excitement to it, the hype and anticipation involved prior to going to a high intensity concert is quite unique.

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  21. It is interesting to see how what is being put-out raises expectations of what the public wants. The idea of “perfection” is curious topic to cover; for I believe it is the imperfections that make a sound unique or intriguing. In some ways, technology has raised the publics eye of expectations when it comes to media. We hear and see “perfection” on a day to day basis. However, it is interesting to see how some bands use technology to experiment with imperfection. An example of this is the genre or aesthetic “lo-fi”. This is where people appreciate the poor sound quality of the music produced. Although this sub-genre hold expectations of its own, it is an interesting paradox from the musical “norm”. In terms of live or recorded performance each bring their own element to the table. I can appreciate both and believe that both are important in terms of expressing ones art.

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  22. I listen to many recorded music I believe that now society can listen to recorded music more easier then it was before, because of the internet and apps that let you download and listen to music. the reason i listen to record music is because I live to hear the artist music in its full potential how the artist wanted me to hear it.

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    1. I agree with you on how listening to recorded music helps you actually listen to the song on how the artist wants us to. You can hear the lyrics and the meaning of the song. It’s a lot more easier to understand their voice and to feel the music itself. Unlike live music, they just mostly pump up your heart with the beats and loudness of the instruments being played on stage and the audience’s yelling, so you can’t really listen to the artist’s music completely.

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  23. Do you think the recording industry makes more money now then it did before? How has this changed how we listen to music now?

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    1. Great question. I think it’s mostly has to do with the time and energy it takes to create and put together a beat for the artist. Creating a beat is harder than it looks; one must make sure that once the beat is created it doesn’t mock a beat that was already made so basic or advance instruments are used just to create a beat for the artist. So it’s understandable why it’s so costly.

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  24. I’ve always wanted to know the importance of these instruments. Why is it that there are more pianos, violins, guitars, mandolins, and banjos among the working classes of America than in all the rest of the world?

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  25. I prefer to experienced live performances. Theres something rewarding when your hearing or viewing a live performance. Artists talents are displayed before the audience rather its natural or assisted. I think one downfall to recording studios are simply the fact that they can give the illusion of a beautiful voice and once you hear a live performance its the total opposite. In live performances your able to see the artist for who they are flaw and all, your able to hear certain sounds that are masked in any audio.

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    1. How does music on a radio make you feel ? I know you said you like live better but do you ever get some sort of feeling about new hits you hear on the radio ?

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  26. I prefer experiencing music through concerts. You go home with such a pleased feeling and it’s also something to remember because I don’t go often. Listening to things on the radio or seeing videos are very typical and something that’s an everyday way to hear music. Listening to music that way doesn’t leave a great impact such as live in concert. I really enjoyed reading about how these musicians make their money on SoundCloud Spotify and etc. That is something I’ve always wondered but never took the time to look into it. It’s so interesting on the difference of making classical music from years ago to how they go about making music now. Although there as similarities.

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  27. do you think the release of music exclusively to certain digital outlets increase the artists or songwriters chances of being properly compensated?

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    1. Yes, at least from what I have heard, Spotify doesn’t pay the artists much for streaming their music. I haven’t researched this so I may be wrong but it makes sense since you are streaming and there are too many factor when keeping track. Like people who don’t pay can still play any song they want when they are on a desktop or laptop(on mobile phone you can only use radio).

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  28. i think that the digital age we live in now has impacted most industries. our access to things through technology have deminished the value most things. For example, the postal service used to be the only way people could communicate with each other. the use of advanced technology has greatly impacted this. we are so used to either picking up our cell phones or opening one of the many social media platforms available to us to communicate that we don’t really value a good thought out handwritten letter. i for one prefer experiencing music live because all of my senses are engaged and you can really feel music in a different way.

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  29. I mostly prefer to listen to music when it’s performed live. This is because I feel like it more raw and authentic when it’s preformed live rather than it being contaimined with audio effects. & also I feel like once it’s being performed you can actually hear and feel the artist emotion while they’re singing performing their piece.

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  30. How do you prefer to experience music: recorded (videos are recordings, too!), performed live, making it yourself? Why?
    What parallels do you see between the recording industry’s effect on music making and the way other industries have had (unintended) effects on how consumers behave, their expectations, or the product itself?

    I prefer to listen to music by headphones or loud speakers, I just feel like you can connect with the music on a certain level and its easier to hear the beats and the singers if there are. i think from recording music to now to back then having music sheets, the way music was made and sent to people was way different, we can get music in a blink of an eye today by our smart phones, and it’s everyone who has it not just certain people unlike the people from back then who had certain people listen to the music because they could afford it. The way music is seen today, is different from the way it was seen back then. i think even if we did have music for everyone, the way music was distributed around was different, but the similarities were that people still listened to music and instead of CD’s they had music sheets and musical performances people enjoyed or even made their version of the music.

    do you think CD’s make as much money nowadays now that we have apps such as Apple Music Spotify or SoundCloud?

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    1. Definitely not. Apple music, spotify & SoundCloud have made music sharing easier than going out to buy a CD from your local appliance store. Everything is on a computer nowadays and especially a service like SoundCloud which allows you to share your music free of charge it most definitely has taken attention away from CDs and the music industry as a whole. Musicians do not make as much money as they once could’ve 20 30 years ago. People like Drake, Gaga, Swift are exceptions.

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  31. It’s difficult to say which method of listening to music I most prefer, as there is an entirely different experience attached to all– each of which I enjoy and love individually for various reasons. Listening to music from spotify streaming through my iPhone is most convenient. I don’t have to do anything for it besides press play (and of course pay a monthly cost for both the song and the app). I can change the song, the artist, the genre with a simple swipe– making it so very easy for the music I’m listening to to adapt to my mood or the setting I’m in. I can make a playlist full of songs for any occasion, share with my friends, and discover new things so easily. Living in a small town, there are very few radio stations. The only ones that come in are various country stations (not a fan), and the top 50 station which plays the same 5 ear aching songs on repeat (also not a fan). Through my spotify account I can look into the listening lives of my friends around the country– many who live in cities and have access to new music discovery on the daily. If it wasn’t for this I wouldn’t be aware of many of the artists I have come to love. Aside from the accessibility and broad spectrum of music, the listening quality of smooth recorded music is something I have come very accustomed to. I love laying back with my headphones on and letting a song take me away– it’s crisp sound layers made and changed by the recording process are enticing. This being said, I would say listening to recorded music through my iPhone is my preference. It’s easy, fast, accessible, and ever-expanding. However, this doesn’t rule out live music and making music of my own. I love going to concerts and being apart of the excitement. It’s wonderful to see one of your favorite artists or groups in the flesh, making the music you love. It’s also something I wouldn’t be able to do every time I wanted to hear a song. This goes the same for making music. It’s very fulfilling to get a song down, or make your own– especially in a group or around a fire. It takes a while to get instruments down, everything takes practice. These other forms of listening are wonderful and special in their own ways, and will always be important to me, but I’ve had the privilege of such easily accessible music that its difficult to prefer anything else overall.

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  32. As a musician I would have to say making it myself. Because I know the process of recording a song and having it mixed and mastered and the time it takes to edit everything, I must say I’m biased on this one. I prefer making it because i truly enjoy making music, its something about spending hours in a studio hearing over yourself and re-taking verses to make sure your song has came out perfect. Although live renditions are always exhilarating, recording takes a lot of work and it requires a lot of time.

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  33. I believe the best way to hear music is in a real performed live. I feel like when we are in front of the stage, and we see the singer or group performing their work, we feel more connected with them. We can have a better understanding of their music and the message they are trying to communicate.

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  34. What is there to say about the authenticity of these artists who’s music and image is created by others? Have you seen any artists completely alter their style for success in the industry?

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  35. What are your thoughts on artists putting their music on exclusive sites such as Tidal, which you can’t access unless you pay a large monthly subscription?

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  36. Do you think that live instruments should be key components in the studio while recording ?????, a lot of sounds you hear on songs are manufactured in tools like FL Studio

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  37. I prefer to experience music recorded than live. In my opinion, live music are sometimes quite difficult to understand from all the people yelling and how loud the beats are that you can barely hear the singer’s voice. There are times that live music are nice to experience, but listening to music on a phone or any electronic devices are a lot better for me to enjoy. I can hear the singer’s voice clearly and all the instruments being played along with the music. Music being recorded, you can actually pay attention to the music and enjoy it.

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  38. I have always preferred live music. In my family(our culture) makes it a habit that at any important gathering there should be an orchestra playing live music. We don’t listen to classical music but they have people who sing and other who play instruments for the length of the gathering. Having live music sets a different mood and feels more intimate.

    I have been to lounges where they have live bands and musicians playing while you hang out and talk to people. It is very cozy and unlike recorded music, you make an effort not to ignore them.

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  39. Have you guys attended any life events? If so, how would you compare live performances to recordings? Something that I’ve noticed at concerts is that depending on where you sit, even from up close, you can’t hear the artist very clearly.

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    1. In a way it does, but on the other side I think that music industry lost millions of dollars every day. I believe if music industry one day stop the illegal downloading of music, it would be difficult for people to buy all the cd due to high prices.

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  40. I prefer to listen to music performed live because I get to see and hear artists emotions. Every perfornance is different depending on the artists, crowd, and type of music. No single performance is the same as another. In the recording industry the people have managers and constracts that they have to fulfill while the other instustries are unfiltered and unsencored. People get to know what people really feel and want to say rather than what would sell on the radio.

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  41. I prefer to listen to music in the comfort of my own home and in a silent setting as I feel it gives me the ability to concentrate more on the music. I feel that listening to music in a concert setting is distracting and can create more harm than good with clapping from the audience and other noises that the audience makes. I also feel that the music that is recorded and provided to listeners is the closest the artist wants the music to be heard as they listen to the music and see if they want that specific recording to be distributed.

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    1. I too like to listen in more quiet and secluded places since there isn’t much interruption. Headphones/earphones help a lot when I go out since they cancel surrounding noises so I can focus more on my music or songs.

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  42. The way I prefer listening to music is recording and music videos are also nice since it shows a clearer story using it. I also like to wear headphones/earphones since it is able to noise cancel the sound around me since I hate surrounding noises while I listen to my music. The thing about live performance and recordings is that there are more sound effects sometimes that enhance the vocals or just the music itself.

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