Digitization is defined as the representation of sound, image, object document or signal (usually an analog signal) by a discrete set of its points or samples. The result of this process is a digital format of whatever is being digitized. More specifically digitization is detaining an analog signal in a digital form.
Evolution of Digital music
Digital music production became famous few decades back. It was prompted because of less user friendly nature of analog music arrangement. Analog recordings had many pros like while recording analog saturation was introduced also during mastering and mixing processes and also helped to smooth the results of audio tracks but still the cons of analog recording was that it was very time consuming and there was fear of tapes being scratched or damaged as they were in physical form (Battino & Richards, 2005).
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Digital music making was started in 1960’s but the starting was not that great because the recordings sounded poor compared with analog and that was because the sampling rate they used was of low quality. It was not until 1978 when the optical readings were introduced which enhanced the quality of digital music and so the demand of digital music grew. In 1983 digital music was formally launched with compact discs and CD player which yielded fruitful returns and became very famous in the short time (Cohen & Rosenzweig, 2008). The late 1980’s and early 1990’s saw the launch of recordable CD’s which significantly dropped the price of CD players and CD’s themselves and also created a new market for themselves and attracted many investors towards its creation. The demand for recordable CD’s was high due to the fact that people could now not only buy music but also record it themselves and thus could have a bunch of their favorite songs in one CD. DVD technology was also the next invention and hence digital music gained its strength and left analog music far behind.
Then came the portable digital players in the late 1990s, with Sony launching digital player and Apple launching their iPod’s and then kept on giving new versions of their products. Hard disks becoming cheaper and introduction of flash drives has made the life easier for music lovers and hence with more space and portable drives digital music has gained its recognition worldwide (Earnshaw & Vince, 2008). External portable hard drives have increased the amount of downloading from internet to increase by million times and hence now people can get their favorite song in their requested quality any time from internet.
Implications & Impact of Digitalization of Music
Digital technology is embossed in music industry these days and is an essential part of it. Technology has done wonders in to every industry it has stepped in and has changed the whole structure of it and similar is the case with the music industry. The music which was hardly available in far flung rural areas is now available to them in just one click. It has changed the performances of singers; target market has changed from a few listeners to every music lover in the world (Colson & Throp, 2010). It has made production more affordable and reliable and even more profitable. Advertising and promotion for music has become cheaper and approachable to masses through digital media and hence communicating your music to people has become easier. This revolution of digital technology advancement has, is and will keep on impacting the music industry. Some implications of digitization of music are:
Before the advent Digital Audio Workstation, all the stuff which can be done through computer i-e; mixing, mastering and sound adjustment required separate set of hardware devices to handle all this stuff and hence made the life of a musician hectic and troublesome. The hardware required now days is just a microphone and mixing board attached with a computer and the remaining activities like mixing, mastering sound adjustments etc can be handled through computer and the music can be fine tuned more easily then before. Computers allow the musician to recreate the studio environment with a minimum of additional hardware because mostly and this allows them to produce a high quality output, thus making the musician’s studio more portable and easy to handle.
Musicians have been given a new way to perform on the stage, in the crowd in fact anywhere they want as they can carry their portable studio with them. Medleys can be made within no time with the help of software and Laptop computers and other portable forms of technology can bring a list of endless possibilities of performances that can be executed on a stage (Burkart & McCourt, 2006). Real time effects can be added in performances by attaching guitars, keyboards and drums to computers and hence it makes live performances more attractive as musicians can perform on audience request at real time. DJs doesn’t carry huge bucket of tapes to nightclubs because single simulation platform makes its possible for them to control the digital music in an exact same manner as they do with recorded music. Concerts can be filled with lighting and effects and also with real time changes in tones etc of the songs to make it more energetic and entertaining for youth.
Selling and Distribution
Evolution of internet has changed the whole scenario all-together in the music industry as it has opened a new medium to launch the music and access customers from all over the world. A song which took months to come to the market and then to final customers can now be uploaded on internet and can be sold immediately after it has been completed and is available to everyone in the world. Advertising or promotion has unlimited possibilities due to these social networks such as Facebook, Orkut, twitter etc. A musician can launch his promotion campaign on any of these networks and get recognized throughout the world and without paying expensive costs for that. Internet branding of music and selling has caused the musicians to save money and time as it was very hard work to make a physical copy of music and sell it to people in markets.
Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) is a most common way to create never-ending collection of music through digital signals. MIDI controllers are usually build inside the keyboards but they can also be seen as simulated woodwinds, MIDI processing centers and velocity-sensitive drum pads (Battino & Richards, 2005). MIDI keyboardist can create any sort of music of his liking using any instrument conceivable.
Musicians from all over the world can come on one platform with the help of internet and can discuss their new concepts with each other. This is the reason why we are seeing so many new songs which features multiple singing sensations; an example is the song “I love the way you lie” which features to singers who Akon and Rihanna and there are many other examples available. Rapid share file sharing has made it easy to transfer files to each other so musicians take benefit of facilities like these and collaborate to create a new sensational music which will rock the world. There are online music creation websites available too on which musicians from all over the world can come and collaborate without being physically present at one place and create music (Patrick & McCourt, 2006).
Contentious Issues and the Affect of Digitizing Music
There are always both sides of technological change. Music industry has faced some real issues after the digitalization of music has taken place and these are:
Pirated websites allows the user to download songs for free and hence people don’t really have to pay for the music they get to hear. This has created huge losses for musicians etc.
Another problem which is faced by musicians is that the intermediaries which help users to locate free MP3 songs websites and etc.
File sharing websites
Websites like RapidShare, 4shared etc allow users to upload file and hence they can upload songs of their liking and people can download them without having to pay for them. The patents, illegal duplication of original songs and pirated websites are the biggest problems which are unresolved till date and hence they should be dealt with some reforms worldwide which will stop piracy of original music. Despite all these problems being faced by music creators, digitization of music has affected almost every music lover from musicians to listeners; it has opened new market for music and has led the music industry to globalization (Earnshaw & Vince, 2008).
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