Howie Singer and Bill RosenblattDec 23, 2023
The Ten Times Technology Transformed the Music Industry
Oxford University Press 2023
Key Changes: The Ten Times Technology Transformed the Music Industry (Oxford University Press, 2023) by Howie Singer and Bill Rosenblatt tells a new story about the history of the music business and the ten technological advances that disrupted it over the last century.
In recent years, narratives about the music industry tend to hew to a common theme: it was humming along for decades until the Internet and Napster came along and disrupted it. Key Changes shows that this view is incorrect: the industry was actually shaken up not once in the 1990s, but ten times over more than 100 years. These ten disruptions came with the introduction of new formats for enjoying recorded music: starting with the cylinders and discs played on early phonographs; then moving through radio, LPs, tapes, CDs, television, digital downloads, streaming, and streaming video; and then into Artificial Intelligence (AI), which enables a wide range of new capabilities with profound impacts upon the business. This book devotes a chapter to each of these formats, illustrating how such innovations beget shifts in creativity, consumer behavior, economics, and law.
Each of the technological innovations covered in this book not only disrupted the music business, but also fundamentally altered the industry's character. And while the technologies themselves have evolved in unique and varied ways over the decades, the changes within the business follow a clear pattern. Veteran music industry professionals and music technology experts Howie Singer and Bill Rosenblatt illuminate this pattern through a framework they term "the 6 Cs": cutting edge technology, channels of distribution, creators, consumers, cash, copyright. This framework provides insight into how such disparate innovations similarly disrupted and transformed the music business in each era. Extensively researched and supplemented by interviews with Grammy-winning artists, producers and executives, the book provides an insightful perspective on the ways technology has fundamentally altered the music industry, throughout history and into the present era.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.