The music industry is constantly in flux, technologically. From the format each new album is delivered in to the tools with which it was crafted and even printed onto (the somewhat rarely-bought CD), there’s little argument to be presented against the fact that music is driven by change – it’s what keeps things exciting.
But what’s changing music the most right now is that it’s becoming a more mobile enterprise – artists are no longer limited to the studio when it comes to creating new music, and the way in which they’re able to do so practically sounds like science fiction to people working in the industry ten to twenty years ago.
Obviously, music going digital was a huge change for the entire industry, and one of the biggest changes this has made is making it easier to take even a vocal track from one location to another. It no longer needs to reside on physical media and be transported by hand – it can be emailed, uploaded, downloaded, and cloud-hosted, so accessible it’s almost as though it’s sitting on your shoulder.
In theory, it’s possible for a band to record their tracks from different locations around the world and have a studio assemble their takes using nothing more complicated than a free Dropbox account and even a Verizon dongle. That’s an incredible amount of accessibility, and makes everything from recording when on tour with other acts to recruiting sessionists a far easier and more efficient process. Distance is no longer an obstacle, and for musicians who don’t need to be close to harmonise with their bandmates, it could mean less time between albums.
It’s also interesting to look at the tools people are using now compared to the firm favourites of yesteryear. A good example to look at is the iconic synthesiser, the Korg MS-20. A staple of anyone working with synth hardware, Korg have now turned the entire thing, plus two Kaossilator pads, into the iMS-20 app for iOS.
Everything about the machine, down to the cables, have been replicated to a mindblowing level of detail, and the sound is faithful – not difficult, given it’s an electronic device, rather than an acoustic guitar. What this means is that where before you had to transport or house a device the size of a small drinks cabinet, you can now simply carry an iPad or iPhone and the MS-20 is yours.
This is no different with editing, either – it’s fully possible to map out a multi-track song using GarageBand for iOS, software so easy to pick up that even a child could craft an album within a day if they were so inclined. Thus, it’s marvellous to think about what professional musicians could do with it.
Whether we’ll see additional changes wrought with smartphones isn’t clear, but it is still quite a unique experience to see musicians even take to the stage with tablets in hand for a night of touch-screen magic-making. The internet and the state of technology has made the craft of music production that much more accessible, and we’ve all come to benefit from it.
About the Author
Lily Sommers is an exceptional gadget whiz computers, cinema, alternative music and updates from industry leaders like Verizon and IBM. Aside from blogging she is a fan of classical music and you can always find her on Google+