December 25, 2006

The MP3, destroyer of worlds

Since Yahoo has been keeping track of the most searched words and I have been paying attention to its listings, there have been two most searched for phrases. "Porn" has been number 1 for every year except in 2000 when "mp3" was number 1 and Napster was created.

The mp3 has changed the music industry like no other single act. The mp3 allows the listener to spend their money differently then ever before. No longer can a band or a record label afford to make crappy songs, as they will not sell. Artists and record labels have begun to reduce the risks they are taking with music. Less and less bands are doing unique things with their songs and more and more albums are sounding a lot like albums that the band had just released.

The mp3 allows those of us who would never think of buying an album of a particular artist or a genre of music to listen to and learn new music. Sharing your music with your friends has been taken to a new high, as both your taste and that of your friends can grow exponentially. I for one would never purchase a Justin Timberlake album, but someone at my office downloaded a few of his songs and played them at work, which made work more enjoyable. Justin's music flowed with our work really well and often times lifted our spirits as he was always happy. This experience could not have happened before the mp3.

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1 comment:

Joyful Girl said...

You bring up interesting points to follow up on my perhaps overly optimistic post. I think this raises fascinating questions we should keep in mind. Does the mp3 promote lack of originality in music? Are albums getting less innovative just because more people will download the songs instead of buying them? We as bloggers and observers of the music world should keep our eyes open for examples of this, and the contrary as well. I suppose it could be traced by paying attention to things like cover art, and whether it looks like bands aren't trying as hard (or whether they're trying harder) as a result of mp3s. Paying attention to record sales was also a good detail to being up, as I'd overlooked the pragmatic aspect, and it's a solid way of measuring the impact we're talking about.