The Music Industry and Technology

Technology changes just about everything. How is it changing the music industry? For years the profits of the music industry have been a topic of mainstream media, sites like Napster (historically) and Limewire let users share files with reckless abandon, and still my students smile and look to the floor at the onset of a discussion about ethics, music and file sharing. The Supreme Court has weighed in and lawsuits continue. Obviously technology, P2P capabilities and the ease with which files can be shared have had an effect on the music industry.  But how has iTunes changed the music industry?

According to this piece in Engadget, iTunes has killed the music industry. While I disagree with that, the article did make me think about an interview I hear this winter on NPR. The interview was unplanned as a scheduled guest was not available (I searched for it but to no avail or it would be linked here), but the discussion turned to how iTunes and the ability of everyone to download their favorite songs. The discussion focused on how artists once designed albums to be stories and how that is not as significant when people download only certain songs from an album, some people may never download an entire album. I had never really thought about that before.

Does it matter in education, perhaps to students interested in the music industry; otherwise, maybe it is just interesting and I’m on spring break and was thinking about it. Either way, I doubt Lady Gaga is complaining about iTunes…

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