tech behind the music

The Tech Behind the Industry – Music

It’s fair to say that it’s never been easier to consume music. But has technology had a positive impact on those working in the industry?

The music industry has changed a lot since the advent of the Internet. From a consumer's perspective, you’ve probably felt the shift as no doubt it’s impacted how you buy, listen to and follow your favorite artists.

You may remember Napster, one of the first popular peer-to-peer file sharing platforms, which first appeared in 1999. That service was shut down a year later, but there’s been an abundance of disruptive tech companies following in its wake.

It’s fair to say that it’s never been easier to consume music, with a third of US citizens subscribing to streaming services that allow them to listen to any song they want out of a multimillion-song catalog. But how have technology and the Internet influenced those working in the field? What are their perspectives of cloud-based services like streaming and virtual recording? Have we reached a stage where tech companies, musicians, record labels and the multitude of players in this industry are working in harmony, or do we still have a long way to go?

To continue our series looking at the technology that drives industries, we invited guitarist Thom Pankhurst, producer Steve Dady, and entertainment industry attorney Barry Shrum, onto the Cloud Talk podcast.

Tune in to hear about the following:

  • The modern revenue channels for musicians
  • How Napster disrupted the entire industry
  • The impact of the streaming model
  • The Music Modernization Act
  • The evolution of the music studio

Thom Pankhurst, a guitarist from Salisbury in the UK, explains how streaming has made musicians more reliant on touring for revenue. “The game is slightly different because streaming is a numbers game. So if you've got a million streams, that could be a million people who have heard of you and know who you are. Whereas before it only took 10 people to buy your CD to make you the same amount of money. There are positive and negative aspects of this. One of the things that has happened within the industry is that the emphasis on touring has massively increased. And if you think about the price of a ticket say 20 years ago, it’s nothing in comparison to what it is now, simply because the amount of money that bands make from physical or streaming sales isn’t enough. But it's quite hard to break into that thing if you don't have the capital to be operating in the first place.”

Barry Shrum, entertainment attorney at Shrum & Associates, discusses the impact of Napster on the entire music industry. “We had a lost decade after Napster where profits plummeted. They decreased by around 50%, which is huge for any industry. And it's amazing that the music industry survived in that time.”

Steve Dady, sound engineer and owner of Sunset Blvd Studios, explains the benefits of the new tools available when producing music. “I think it's one of the best times to be recording ever because we've got the benefits of editing and pro tools and can do things that we never thought were possible. I mean you can find any sound you want at the click of a button. Before, if you wanted to get a reverse piano sound or a reverse snare sound, we had to take the tape and literally flip it over and be really careful what tracks we selected to go into record, because track one flipped over becomes track 24 and everything was opposite.”

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About the Authors

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Rackspace Technology Staff - Solve

The Solve team is made up of a curator team, an editorial team and various technology experts as contributors. The curator team: Srini Koushik, CTO, Rackspace Technology Jeff DeVerter, Chief Technology Evangelist, Rackspace Technology The editorial team:  Gracie LePere, Program Manager Royce Stewart, Chief Designer  Simon Andolina, Design Tim Mann, Design Abi Watson, Design Debbie Talley, Production Manager  Chris Barlow, Editor  Tim Hennessey Jr., Writer Stuart Wade, Writer Karen Taylor, Writer Meagan Fleming, Social Media Specialist Daniel Gibson, Project Manager

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