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The Evolution of Music: Changing Over the Years & Lives

Arguably every single song produced today has historical influence buried within. A sprinkle of blues in a Lorde track, some Jazz in one of Post Malone’s recent releases - if you delve deeper into the songs you listen to, you'll find interesting modern interpretations of songs released from years ago. So, whether you love Rock & Roll, K-pop, or any of the other music genres out there, you have a rich history of music-making to thank.

One thing's for sure. Whatever music you prefer, the beauty of music lies in the fact that it is absolutely and uniquely yours to interpret and enjoy however you want.

Are You a True Music Lover?

Do you consider yourself an audiophile, or are you a casual listener who is satisfied playing a couple of tunes in the background? Here are 5 ways for you to discover how deep your love for music goes.

1. You’re Always Listening to Music

Ever felt the urge to take over your office speakers and link up your Spotify playlist instead? Unless you’re sitting in a meeting or engaged in a conversation, vibing out to your specially curated playlist 24/7 is a clear sign you’re an audiophile. A background music playlist while working on a project, upbeat tracks for a workout, party tunes for when you have friends over. Whatever the situation, you probably have music playing.

2. You Have a Playlist for Every Situation

Whether you're creating a playlist to share with friends or one for yourself and self-reflection, you know the power a single track has over a situation or your mood. Be it a playlist filled with white noise for bedtime or techno for your next house party, you'll have all the right tunes blasting through the speakers.

3. Your Library is Meticulously Maintained

Own a library of vinyl, cassettes, and CDs? Whether they’re arranged alphabetically or according to genre, all your prized possessions are dust-free and intact with the notes they came with. Your digital library looks no different. You’ve removed all the tracks you're not a fan of from albums you’ve downloaded to create the perfect playlist.

4. You’re in the Know About the Latest Audio Tech

Constantly keeping up with the latest technology that can transform your music-listening experience ? Knowing how the newest audio technology works is something that truly interests you. From music trends and headphone specs to wired home speaker systems and mixers, high-quality audio is what you’re after.

5. You’re Familiar with the Music Jargon

Terms like “tweeter”, “woofer” and “on-ear headphones” do not faze you. Besides audiophile jargon, you are well-versed in the different technologies that have paved the way for the latest gadgets. From key audio milestones to fun facts about artists, you know them all like the back of your hand.

The Evolution of How We Listen to Music

If you are familiar with the history of music, you’ll know that the way music is played to an audience has undergone tremendous transformation. For decades, the only way to listen to music was to be physically present.

Thankfully, Thomas Edison discovered the secret to recording sound in 1877. He created the phonograph, which allowed music to be recorded, then reproduced at a later time. This was replaced in 1887 by the gramophone. Invented by Emil Berliner, the gramophone was a major improvement. Later on in 1896, with the shellac record, music recordings could be infinitely reproduced. And this was the very beginning of music as we consume it today.

Early 1900s

Also known as the jazz age, jazz music and blues would play through gramophones, offering people a conduit to escape from the First World War. Post-WWI, the economy was devastated, and music was a form of relief. Swing and traditional pop music in the 1930s provided people with happiness and fun. Through to the late 1940s, the Swing Era thrived, especially with the introduction of Big Band. An ensemble of 12 to 25 musicians playing in 4 different sections - trumpet, rhythm, saxophone and trombone - they were often accompanied by stand-out singers like Frank Sinatra.

1950s to 1970s

From Elvis Presley to the first Grammy Awards in 1959, many would point to the 1950s as the genesis of pop music as we’ve come to know it. Throughout the years, music became more complex, though technology had not caught up. Even though CDs still weren’t a thing, live shows and TV appearances were some of the main ways artists showcased their masterpieces.

Then there were The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who who became cultural icons, influencing pop culture. In an era when television was still new and marvellous, TV show appearances by bands like The Beatles still managed to draw over 70 million people to their TV screens. With mass hysteria, influence, and popularity, fan clubs also became a way for music devotees to demonstrate their loyalty.

The Arrival of Music Television

In the 1980s, notable artists such as Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Prince, Whitney Houston and Tina Turner made their way onto the music scene. But perhaps the biggest thing to come out in the 80s was Music Television, or MTV. The revolutionary shift to music videos came about, and MTV allowed fans to listen to their favourite artists and watch them at the same time. MTV and the vast numbers of music videos it played meant artists and bands gained maximum exposure, gaining attention from all over the world.

The launch of MTV paved the way for the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), which was broadcast live in 1984, cementing the acceptance of creative music and music videos.

The Age of Digital Disruption

Throughout the years, inventions such as vinyl records, cassette tapes, and CDs were created, kickstarting a new revolution in music every few years. From the first cassette walkman to the introduction of MP3 players, better audio quality soon became something we could purchase at an affordable price. Living in what can be defined as the internet age of music, the music industry changed dramatically to keep up with its dynamic audience.

Fast-forward to today, the vast improvement in internet speed and digital technologies has given rise to music streaming. Widely-popular on-demand streaming services such as Deezer, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Prime Music, and Tidal allow us to download and listen to the latest music with a touch of a button. This astronomical rise in popularity of streaming led to over 611 billion song streams in 2018 alone!

Even more recently, while we haven't been able to watch shows and concerts in person, we’re able to attend online concerts instead. Platforms like Reddit, YouTube, and Instagram have made it easier for music fans and artists to communicate with one another.

The Good & the Bad of the Online Streaming Explosion

Technology has been the backbone in shaping and driving shifts in the music industry. In our Post-Napster world, online streaming has become the dominant form of music distribution. Having levelled the playing field between the larger music businesses and indie record labels, the digital music revolution has also led to the democratisation of the industry, creating opportunities for artists - big and small. However, there is much debate over whether the technology has been entirely beneficial for the music industry.

Is Free Streaming Killing the Music Industry?

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, 75% of total revenues in the American music industry in 2018 came from online streaming. This means that physical sales and digital downloads have decreased, translating to a smaller income for artists. To add fuel to the fire, the so-called “freemium” models that music platforms offer to subscribers is something that severely affects artists’ finances. For example, the stand Taylor Swift made against Apple Music and their three-month free trial offered to subscribers. Having refused to allow the company to stream her music for free in an open letter, Taylor Swift stated “Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing.”

Add to that the low cost of entry for newer artists, and the competition to stand out becomes much stiffer.

Pivoting During the Digital Era

While it can be said that free streaming is killing the music industry through the cannibalisation of album sales and digital downloads, there are several clear reasons why streaming music is also the solution.

Not too long ago, many would dub tapes and burn CDs, pirating music. With streaming services, however, this is nipped in the bud, since there's no longer a need to turn to piracy. Musicians have also been able to find new streams of revenue, for instance by monetising live streamed performances.

On top of that, people are now consuming more music than ever. With the likes of Deezer, Spotify, and Apple Music boasting millions of songs in their catalogues, music lovers can simply tap on a button to listen to songs, without being restricted to a single album. Besides the convenience it offers, streaming services also offer the ability to download tracks onto your phone so you don’t need an internet connection to listen on the go.

Operating for Musical Enjoyment

One thing is for certain - music is meant to be enjoyed and listening to it brings with it many benefits. From the release of dopamine when listening to your favourite tunes to reducing stress, improving sleep, and strengthening memory, it’s about time you got your hands on some of the best music apps available.

H3 The Best Music Apps to Download

Many music apps in the market will easily transform your mobile phone into a music player. Some of these include:

  • Spotify
  • Amazon Prime Music
  • Tidal streaming service
  • Apple Music
  • Deezer

 

Whether you’re looking for apps that are free to download, ones that offer Hi-Res audio, or other premium features, head on over to our breakdown of the best music apps for audiophiles.

Enjoy Music Whenever and Wherever with M1

Whether you’re at home or out and about, M1 makes it easy for you to vibe to your favourite tunes. With a range of home broadband plans and mobile broadband plans, choose your preferred speed for as low as $29.90/mth. If bandwidth-intensive applications like streaming are your go-to method of listening to music, consider our 2 x 1Gbps fibre broadband plan! With a 1+1Gbps 2-year plan, you’ll receive 2 activated ONT ports so that you can dedicate one network for all your streaming activities. Never worry again about your music video or playlist taking a long time to download!

But that’s not all! If you’re heading out, subscribe to the M1 5Go Booster pack for a truly 5G experience. If you haven't downloaded prized playlists while connected to Wi-Fi, do so on mobile data at speeds up to 10x faster than 4G networks. As Singapore’s leading digital services provider, you’ll also be able to find the top mobile plans online and the latest handsets at prices as low as $0 upfront with the Bespoke Flexi or Bespoke Contract plans. So what are you waiting for? Get ahead of the music trends in Singapore with Deezer and our Bespoke plans today.