Is Digital Music the Future?

By Bethan and Zahra

The art of music has been around since early BC years. Historians believe that the first forms of instrumental music were drum- based; made from resources accessible at the time, such as animal skin, rock and sticks- materials from the homosapien era. As time passed music has developed from tribal rhythms to modern day, for example pop music and is constantly advancing to even higher standards.

The future of digital music. For many years applications and devices have been used to give people the ability stream music, such as MP3 players and iPods, however these are being overtaken by gadgets which have advanced further in the race to the future of music, for example wireless headphones and portable speakers; allowing people to take music with them wherever they go. Instead of having to create your own music with instruments and voice, digital forms of creating music are now used to replicate the sound of instruments. Although they are mainly used as a replica, digital forms give the music a digitalised sound which may lead to a future of purely digital music.

The end of the MP3? The first MP3 player was introduced in 1997 by SaeHan information Systems. An MP3 player is a consumer electronic device that allows users to listen to music stored in a small file whenever they want. However, as music technology develops, new devices have been created and have gradually been pushing MP3 players out of the picture. Which raises the question, is there a place for MP3 players in the next generation?

Illegal music download. As musical technology continues to advance, its cost is rapidly increasing, consequently causing listeners to turn towards easier and cheaper ways to stream music. This is resulting in piracy. Through time the amount of illegal download is growing, affecting the economy of the music industry, companies experiencing financial losses due to the depreciating number of users instead using illegal means to access music. This is creating competition between legal and illegal music software. Although illegal music download has been around for years, it is now becoming more of a problem. Therefore the question, is will illegal music download have a large foothold in the future of the music industry.

Live music concerts. A question the future brings is whether live music concert will remain popular or if they will be overtaken in a digital form, such as YouTube. “Concerts for live musical instruments will not carry on; however concerts of famous pop artists will continue to be popular” reports a 12 year old. This may indicate that the main appeal for younger people to see a concert is to meet their favourite pop artist, however a female adult suggests that there is still hope for opera and live orchestra. “Opera and live orchestra need to reinvent themselves to hold their relevancy, for example Philharmonic group back home used to sing popular pop songs in an operatic style, making them appealing for all music lovers.” A survey was conducted in a group of 58 people and shows that 27 of these have been to a pop concert in the last two years, whereas only 4 have been to an opera concert, this may suggest that opera will not have a strong role in the future, however pop will increase in popularity.

The future has always been labelled as a question, but will the future hold only digital music and will devices from the 20th century still be in use? Our suspicions remain clear:

  • Digital music will have a strong hold in our musical future and eventually music will   evolve to have a more robotic sound
  • Older devices and styles of music will gradually become redundant unless they reinvent themselves to meet the newer generations needs as technology develops
  • Piracy of music will increase due to the rise in cost of legal downloads
  • Live instruments and operas will decrease in popularity, whilst pop concerts will increase