Reviewing the Decade in Music: Entry #2

On October 23, 2001, the face of music changed profoundly. The computer hardware company Apple unveiled a new line of pocket-sized music players, capable of carrying over 1,000 .mp3 or ACC files stored on a mini hard drive. While the iPod was not the first .mp3 player on the market, its sleek user interface and trendy complexion led to an explosion in the electronics market, spelling out death for personal CD and cassette players.

The birth and success of the iPod is significant because it encouraged the music industry to move away from the CD format in favor of digital media. The ease and relative inexpensiveness of buying music via iTunes and other mp3 electronic warehouses in the 21st century has boosted music sales by over 37% per year, regardless of what anti-piracy gurus at the MIAA would like you to believe.

One drawback to digital media is the decrease in audio quality. Modern recording studios compose tracks in huge, lossless files that are then burned to physical CDs. No drop in audio quality occurs in this process, however as soon as the CD is deposited into a computer to rip the music into .mp3 files there is a huge drop in quality as the analog data on the CD is converted to bytes of 1's and 0's. This drop is only amplified once the .mp3 files are dumped on to an iPod and listened to through low grade ear buds. This decrease in quality is hardly noticed by the average listener and definitely is not a drastic enough shortcoming to threaten digital music's throne in the industry.

The impact of the digitalization of music has led to increased sales, thanks to the proliferation of music piracy. That's right. The ease at which music can be bought also mirrors to the ease at which music can be stolen. While music piracy is soaring through the roof, so are sales. Surely there is a correlation between the two. While there are indeed countless scum bags that are more than willing to take any product with out paying, music piracy introduces consumers to new groups, albums and artists that they will be inclined to support financially through purchasing future releases, attending concert dates, and spurring merchandise sales. Personally, it would be fiscally impossible for me to purchase music from every artist and band I am interested in. While I do pirate music, I also buy more than my fair share of albums and .mp3s. My music piracy impels me to purchase more music because I sincerely strive to support quality art.

As I stated on my first entry in this series on the decade in music, the music industry finds itself at a crossroad in 2009. Certainly digital media provides music consumers with many advantages, however the industry needs to solidify its stances. Should physical recordings be abandoned? Should the music industry continue its vicious crusade on piracy? Do record label CEOs even care to address these issues as they witness record profits? As the questions pile up, it is apparent that the next decade of music will be just as controversial as the last.


  1. it's shae from twitter shaedreams/twitter.
    i really loved this post. i am a huge music fan so reading this really got my attention. keep it up!

  2. I like how you said about introduction of mp3 players, particularly iPods to the music market that was "spelling out death for personal CD and cassette players".
    I think that the digitalization of music was successful also because it allowed to buy only what I want and like (by singe song not by album) and for better price, because you don't have to pay for phisical media like vinyl or CD.


  3. Naturally i would agree with this but i mostly pirate what few songs a have unless i have ripped them from cd's i own to have them on the ipod, but i remember when he i pod hit the market took two or three people to be seen with them then u could place them on the shelves fast enough for people to take them... I wish one of my family members would've invested in that apple stock back in the early nineties it would've done everyone some good Keep it up i like this one...