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Streams, beams and ultra- light things: The Evolution of Music in Digital Technology

The global recorded music industry experienced a drastic shift in 1999. This shift which poised as growth lasted for a quarter of a century

The global recorded music industry experienced a drastic shift in 1999. This shift which poised as growth lasted for a quarter of a century and long before there was Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music or anything that survived on the backbone of streaming through the internet, music was distributed through cassettes and record stores.

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The business model that empowered the progress of the music industry before the internet was a bit complicated as it took a longer time for the product to get the consumer. The distribution channel of the product had to go through a lot of processes and the time lag delayed the growth of the music industry. Although the medium at which music was distributed was effective. Record labels had to create alliances with radio stations, night clubs, record stores and other mediums. If the product (music) was good enough, it will become a big bang in the marketplace and record labels will invest in the promotion but if it wasn’t well, the record label might probably just drop the project and move on to a more profitable artist. It’s just business.

Since the inception of record labels and the music business this was how it was until the music business experienced an innovation. This innovation was and is the internet. The internet gave the music industry what it needed. An opportunity to shorten the music distribution process, eradicate physical distribution, reach out to a large number of persons in an instant and also an ease of entry into the marketplace.

To give you a clear and better perspective of how much this innovation has been a driving force, let’s look at the numbers. As of 2018, The Global Music Industry was worth $19.1 Billion rising by 10% from the previous year. Out of this $19.1 Billion, $11.2 Billion comes from digital revenue. That is, the digital technology industry accounts for 59% of the entire industry. As impressive as these numbers are, the music industry never really grasp digital technology until Shawn Fanning (at the time a student at Northeastern University in Boston) would ignite the turbulent process that eventually became the dawn of an evolution.

Shawn Fanning created a platform which was called Napster that permitted clients to download and share music without remunerating the perceived rights holders. Napster was decently fast sued by the music business foundation and was in the end compelled to close down the administration. The Rise of iTune, Netflix and the streaming business model.

After the rise and sudden fall of Napster, Steve Jobs and Apple inc introduced iPods and iTunes into the market place which launched the music industry into a new dimension. The “1,000 songs in your pocket” innovative device introduced the entertainment industry to a new business model – The Platform Business Model whereby consumers pay a ridiculous fee to have instant access to listen to their favorite artist. This innovation disrupted the whole music industry. It helped make artists closer to their fans, it took the long process of distribution and make music an accessible commodity in the marketplace.

Due to the situation of things in the world, there is a slim chance that we will go back to the days of concerts and gatherings so the medium through which concerts will take place will definitely change. Just recently Logic launched his retirement album, No Pressure, and it was live streamed via Twicth. Jonny Drill took the lead some months back and had a live concert.

The Movie industry is no different. The consumers are in search of comfort and connectivity. They want to have the cinematic experience and to see a movie with their loved ones. Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph saw the future of the movie industry and decided to create a platform for the future – Netflix. With 160 million paying customers, Netflix just like iTunes has redefined the entertainment industry.

What is the future of this industry?

It’s not hard to tell that technology will keep on driving this industry into greater heights. We can see this happening already as Elon Musk through his Neuralink brain chip technology. It was reported that with the brain chip technology music can be streamed directly to the brain. Gbedu will finally burst brain.

Over the years the production, delivery, and distribution of music has evolved and through technology innovation has been a close relative to the music industry. Innovation itself is not the introduction of something new but improvement or a slight change of an existing system into something better. It is about creating a better option as compared to what is already in existence.

Can you look into the future using data and statistics and build a platform or technology for the future that can be accessible to millions in an instant while you create profit through it? Because as a people we’ve not scratched the evolution of music in the digital technology era.

Foy is a content development and entertainment project management professional, with seven plus years’ experience in television, advertising, marketing consulting, international cable networks, and the digital economy. My background as a trained medical doctor gives him unique cross-functional competence. He believes in enduring positive contributions and enjoy working with visionary individuals and companies.

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