Technological improvements usually make things better, in fact, a lot of new music genres are possible thanks to the newly developed tech. So, why do some people think that digitalization has diminished the quality of music when all it did was make it more accessible?
Well, this statement is true, but if you grew up listening to the music on your computer or portable player, you will never really know what they are talking about. Technology had a massive impact on music in terms of distribution, legal issues, monetization and also quality. In fact, it is this diminished quality that makes top tier headphones so expensive, because you get higher fidelity audio, and those who really enjoy music are ready to pay for them.
Consequences of going digital
When music went digital it was really huge, as you can enjoy your favorite tunes while walking, or driving, or pretending to pay attention during lectures. Unfortunately, the price for digitization was sound quality. In order to make the distribution easier the sound files had to be compressed, and experts claim that these compressed audio files have crackly and thinner sound than the music on vinyl and/or CD. Older generations spend time just sitting next to a gramophone and enjoying the music, but that is not how younger generations feel, and portability has higher importance than fidelity. Additionally, those who enjoy high-fidelity sound can still buy records and listen to them at home, so it’s not like the demand for quality sound is completely gone.
It’s not only the sound that suffered
Another consequence of going digital is distribution, as it becomes way easier to pirate music, or give it for free to the masses. However, this does not have such a huge impact on the artist as you are led to believe. People love new music, and there is always a demand for fresh tunes, so artists won’t go out of business. Distribution of digital music really hurts the record labels, because they were a middle man or a distributor.
However, this is just a natural flow of things, to be honest, and being a middle man in any industry has always been a gamble. The idea behind automatization is the removal of the middle man and making processes more streamlined, it is true for any industry and music is no exception. Nowadays, new artists won’t have to put up with record labels demands in order to get discovered. They can reach to influencers on YouTube, and get noticed on their too, so from that perspective digitalization has been an improvement. SoundCloud, social networks and other online platforms might not offer a huge impact but using them collectively will surely yield results.