The compact disc is now old enough to become classed as collectable in the field of musical ephemera, starting to move away from the home and finding a new place in antique and thrift stores.
To the surprise of many, its been around for over 40 years, though CDs (the non financial type) is still be the first choice for many. One of the most successful music playback formats ever, the CD started to outsell cassette tapes way back in 1993, but came with high resolution and carried more data and by the mid 80’s over 200 billion discs had reached the hands of buyers.
shaped by or for the entertainment industry?
Technology is of course the driving catalyst for change, not least in the case of Music, aided by the insatiable desire of humanity to absorb and retain our most instinctive of expression, our musical tastes. The most obviously overlooked aspect of music in the 21st century, having been with us for now some time is the ability to witness music without the presence of performers. This heritage is something now taken for granted, with the novelty now directed to the format and quality of the music we choose, whilst embedded into expectation.
The technology industry has tried to keep up with demand, and music has tried to keep up with technology.
For the buyer, the smorgasbord of tech available in which to store our choices seems relatively small, selecting between MP4, or other formats. Producers have a hard task at hand, with a production process which is often more complicated than the process of completing a an intricate tourbillon timepiece. Back in the 80s we were given the ability to adjust sound, via our graphic equalizers, many attempts to find the perfect pitch and base were as far as we got, before resetting the dials back to how they were. At the other end of the production scale, there is far more to it, from sampling, amplification, frequency equalization, compression, even consideration of reverberation. The industry is packed with different suppliers, all competing for the best, most realistic sounds. The artists rely on it, music producers live by it, and it is this quality which goes hand in hand, often equally so, with the talent lent by the artist his or her self.
Screaming for an audience, its ironic
The irony here is almost as crystal clear as the objective. Despite the draw towards better technology, the objective is to create a sound closest to the most primitive of instruments, those objects of string, percussion, or wind.
There are now over 1200 separate instances of musical sub-genre in the modern world.
iT’S OFF THE SCALE
The world is arguably far more intricate and fragmented than it was in the days of Jazz and Blues, when the choices of mainstream music could be counted on two hands. Welcome to the 21st century planet earth, where we find the most complicated of intercorrelations and society. Music naturally has to find an audible outlet for all these vagaries and interpretations, and alas Technology is so far doing well to provide a solution. The focus turns to not the music itself but in the gateways by which it can be accessed and stored.
There is apparently no limit, at least not for the late Jeremy Kipnis, a music producer with reportedly the worlds most expensive home entertainment theatre. If ones music aspirations is not wide enough to warrant a $6 million dollar setup, there are still many other options. Take the Backes & Muller BM 100 for instance, coming in at $500,000. With speakers which can stand at 7ft tall, it is duly advised to treat the sound controls with respect, or you will find snow being avalanched off your neighbours roof during winter.
Are we going in circles?
It is said that fashions and good ideas go in circles. With the resurgence of vinyl music discs, once again becoming popular among music aficionados, who will quickly claim that the music quality is far better than anything we have had before.
The visibility of vinyl is spreading once again, the clubbers and DJ’s of our entertainment industries who will swear by them, some for aesthetic, some for practical reasons. For one, depending on your music scene, they are easier to “scratch”. For the unacquainted, this is a technique which creates a unique sound by forcing the needle over the music score.
With the evolution of LPs (long player vinyl’s) not just being the focus, the decks they are used on are too. Becoming ever more advanced, the turntable is skyrocketing in value. Originally, a basic model would sell for £50, whereas the top end, professional kits reaching over £35,000.
No matter the source or price, the approach is the same, to respect the original sound, appreciating music in its natural form is priceless.
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