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July 26, 2010

The technological Gypsy Tap

Just as recordings sales were peaking in the late 1990s, production and distribution technologies were becoming accessible to the general public.

Compact ADCs, MIDI devices, sample libraries, CD burners in the home and in cheaper manufacturing plants, the hypertext transfer and file transfer protocols, increased computer processing power and open-source software all conspired to reduce the cost of producing and distributing an album of recorded music to within the range of many acts who previously needed a record company's venture capital and marketing networks.

This meant that the large corporations were no longer the only ones who could afford the technologies of production and distribution, and hence no longer controlled the flow of content into the market. Now nearly anyone who wanted to could use their music to sell technology.

The general public now had a much wider range of musics that could be their cultural glue and pump their social gonads. The new musics were available at a much lower price than the large companies' and people were better able to choose the glue for their particular culture.

A similar change in the economies of production and distribution occurred with regard to combining music and video, along with peer-to-peer technologies. Now there were an almost infinite number of MTV channels.

The large companies retain their marketing networks and the budgets to develop high-quality musical 'product'. They are still dominant forces in the music market.

But now there is very little stopping competitors from doing the same thing ...


Digital technologies ended the temporary scarcity of recorded music, just as analogue technologies created it. Greater value now accrues to music that is shared free of technological constraints and the companies that tried to halt the technological dance are struggling to find some lurve.

Technologies take turns to dance with the beautiful music.

This post is the summary of Part 1 of Dr Huge's "How the record industry got it so wrong". The latest version of the complete ebook can be downloaded here and a hard copy can be ordered here.
Posted by DrHuge at July 26, 2010 3:24 PM

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