The Evolution of Music Consumption: How We Got Here - Deepstash

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The Evolution of Music Consumption: How We Got Here

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The social and personal importance of music

Music is important to people individually and on a societal level. Music is greatly influential to the state of technology. The devices we use to listen to music shape the technological landscape.

But when did earbuds become synonymous with a portable music player, and whe...

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The story of music consumption: The phonograph

Music has always been an important part of human culture. Until 1877, people could only listen to music when someone was playing, whether in a concert hall or at home.

But Thomas Edison's invention of the phonograph revolutionised the consumption of music. Sounds to be rec...

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The flat-disc record

In the 1890s, the transition to flat-disc records began. The recording was etched onto a disc we today recognise as a record. The main advantage of the disc record was that it could be mass-produced, whereas a phonograph had to be recorded individually.

Discs were first sold in a five-inch ...

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At first, the flat-disc record was made from shellac. Only after WWII, vinyl replaced shellac as it was a lighter and more durable material.

The transition to vinyl happened together with the change from 78 rpm to 33 1/3 rpm, which allowed a larger amount of music to be recorded on a single...

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The LP player

A 12-inch vinyl, 33 rpm record could contain about 20 minutes of music on a side. This longer-playing (LP) format began to dominate the market. 45 rpm records became popular after the war, most containing a single song on each side, known as "singles."

Extended-play (EP) 45s were also added...

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During WWI (and WWII), the US Congress suspended all amateur radio broadcasts. In 1919, shortly after WWI, 1XE of Medford, Massachusetts, was broadcasting music. Then more music radio stations began to pop up.

But they met with resistance. People thought radio was only supp...

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The top 40 stations

In 1922, the first radio advertisement changed the future of music broadcasting. Before that, companies would sponsor musical programs known by names like Champion Spark Plug Hour or King Biscuit Time.

The rise of the top 40 stations in the early 50s influenced how music radio operates to t...

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The RCA tape cartridge

In 1958, the RCA tape cartridge changed the future of home music consumption. The high-quality audio had been encoded onto a magnetic tape medium for home use.

In 1964, the 8-track Lear tape was introduced. Other tape formats were already available in the home market, but t...

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The Sony Walkman

In the early 1970s, the compact Phillips cassette tape began to rise to domination of the automobile music market. The small size counted in their favour. When the manufacturers started making smaller, portable tape decks, the cassette's place in music was sure.

The innovation of th...

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The digital age: Compact disc

  • It was not until the early 1980s that the first commercial compact discs (CDs) appeared. The format was standardised in 1980.
  • Before the CD, magnetic tape data was read mechanically. The use of a laser to read the data on a disc was a huge leap forward in audio technology and dominat...

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  • In 1982, an electrical engineering PhD student Karlheinz Brandenburg was challenged to find a way to transmit music over digital phone lines.
  • Advanced technology that could separate sounds into three sections, or layers, enabled Brandenburg and his colleagues to discard obscured soun...

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The invention of Napster shook up the music work. Napster was a simple, free, peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing service that focused on MP3 sharing. This free distribution of music was attacked by the music industry and shut down in 2001. Many other P2P file-sharing services sprun...

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Apple iPod dominating the market

In 1996, MP3s players found their way into listeners pockets. At first, the rudimentary systems could hold six to twelve songs, but the Apple iPod changed the market in 2001. It held up to 1,000 songs.

iTunes debuted in 2001 with the iPod as the world's best jukebox software. It has been th...

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The streaming revolution

Pandora pioneered the style of music recommendation service that would become a huge trend in modern music. The idea was of a service that allowed listeners to hear music from thousands of artists without buying any album.

The battle over royalties paid to artists are constant and not limit...

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The future of music listening

Many people are looking for an easy listening experience that allows them to consume and not create. That is why many people are looking into "zero-UI" music players, where the player would ideally need no interaction from the listener.

From a broader range of information made available thr...

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