Individual Review Paper Outline

Topic: Music & Technology- How technology has affected the production, consumption & distribution of music today

Executive Summary

This review paper will explore the issue of how the revolutions of new and latest information and communications technologies have affected our music industry today. In particular, looking into how they have affected the production, consumption and distribution of music and whether these technologies are a good replacement for the traditional ones we have had in the past.


Music technology today is a disruptive but essential change and there is no doubt that the functionality of music industry has transformed and transitioned the past 30 years. Technological advancements, such as the Internet and music softwares have definitely changed the way songs are being produced, marketed and distributed today.

Historical Perspective
1) How music was produced in the past
–by instruments (piano violin/by hearing (Beethoven)
-origin/period of music (baroque, classical, romantic etc.)
-sentimental/lyrics were meaningful-Celine Dion/Whitney Huston/Michael Jackson etc.)

2) How music was consumed in the past

-AM/FM radio/buying pre-recorded music in a “format”
-Prior to AM/FM, Walkman was most convenient and portable device to bring around

3) How music was distributed in the past

-Most CDs/vinyl were sold in brick and mortar CD stores (HMV/ 4 independent record shops in Britain closed down in last 10 years)

Current Situation

1) How music is being produced today

-Cheaper sources of technology-record albums at high quality with professional production values
-Example: Audacity, Caustic, Garage band and latest-Apple logic pro X

-Genres: Hip hop, electronicàlyrics mashed together and do not make any sense  (Macklemore/Eminem/Nick Minaj etc.)

-Auto tune- Public on YouTube heavily criticized Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’

2) How music is being consumed today

-Through digital means, largely the Internet
-Platforms like mobile phones increasing (SingTel AMPed app)
-Music becoming “free” with low cost per month (Spotify/Internet radio channels)
-Rip from YouTube/illegal downloads (IsoHunt/Torrent)
-Consumers buying a few songs rather than whole album (can choose which ones they prefer)
-Listening to songs that lack meaning & convey wrong messages (Akon/Flo Rida etc.)


3) How music is being distributed today
-Distribution channels such as ITunes, YouTube, Spotify, and Napster

-Tracks released as MP3/ EP and streamed through YouTube
-Some bands promote their music through social media (FB/Twitter/YouTube) to target larger audience (Jimmy Eat World/Lady Gaga)

Future Consideration

-It seems that society is only going to see a continuous shift from the ownership of music to increased accessibility to music.

-Recorded music is going to be attention grabber and not generate revenue

-Perhaps artists and label companies should start being creative and work towards earning attention and loyalty of fans rather than their money (since consumers do not purchase music as before anymore)

-For example: Start off on YouTube or any other social media means, gain a fan club and subsequently sell tickets to live shows, and sell merchandises in future.

-Future of music industry lies heavily on bundling /product promotion. A possible way to achieve this is providing services that allow full access on devices (tablets/ mobile phones etc.). There should be incentives to make consumers pay for subscription fee for this concept to allow revenue streams.


-Technology today will continue to create a relentless personalization of music experience

-The monopoly that record labels had in process of discovering, developing and promoting music has been disrupted and it is inevitable that the advancement in technology will only continue to dominate the way music is being produced consumed and distributed by individuals in future.



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