When we talk about music and new media we refer to the before and after, yesterday and today with an important point in between. We all remember twenty or so years ago how music was made and how it ended up in our hands. An artist made a deal with a record company to make an album. The music and voice got recorded in a special studio and then vinyl records and cassettes would be produced and distributed to approved vendors. Then the artists and managers would physically travel from city to city, country to country promoting the songs in radio stations, TV shows, and printed materials. And that was pretty much it.
The record company would be in control of all extra merchandise such as posters, t-shirts, and other accessories that fans would get at record stores and concerts. As time passed the music industry moved along by producing videos for each song to be broadcasted in music channels such as MTV and CD’s emerged which made our listening experience better because we were able to skip songs without waiting for rewinding/fast-forwarding, or hearing broken records. However, us users were forced many times to buy the whole album even if we only wanted a single song.
From the mid 90’s and on is the cutting point where music is defined as what it was and what it is now. With the commercialization of the Internet and the birth of the MP3 files, a format that compresses digital audio files, made it easy sending music from computer to computer without sacrificing sound quality (Taintor, 2004). In 2003 Apple releases iTunes, the first successful online music store and in 2005 YouTube, a video-sharing Website is born.
This chain of events as part of new media has made our music listening experience reach levels as never before. We no longer depend on record companies to buy or create music. We no longer have to buy a whole album for one song. We no longer have to conform ourselves with a single video, or travel to a store to buy our music. We now can create, record, produce, distribute, any song, any video at any moment at any time.
Take for example a video by three Mexican, young siblings, who remade Adele’s video and song “Rolling in the deep”, making them Internet sensations within days of releasing their video on November 2011. One brother plays the drums, the other plays the piano, while the little sister is the vocalist. After few weeks of posting the video, they signed a contract with Sony Music Mexico where the Vazquez family has full control over the project and Sony Music is only the distributor (Fox News Latino, 2012). Internet and YouTube enabled these youngsters create and distribute their own music and video to become an Internet sensation (see video below).
(Vazquez Sounds, 2012)
To add to the listening experience, the fun does not stop here. Among the millions of users who really loved the Vazquez brothers’ performance, someone went even further creating a video of his own mixing the Vazquez Sound video and Adele’s video, producing a very interesting mix (see video below). The user was able to merge each music’s version with the images, creating one single, flawless song that one cannot help but enjoy and wonder how creative the end product is. Something like this would not have been possible twenty years ago where control for the music was solely by the record companies. Although there are still strict copyright guidelines to follow when dealing with copyrighted material, music companies are also becoming more flexible by allowing users to re-make songs as this is also publicity for the real author.
(Huaysara Enciso, 2011)
Taintor, C. (2004, May 27). Chronology: Technology and the music industry. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from Frontline – The way the music died: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/music/inside/cron.html
Fox News Latino. (2012). Vazquez Sounds Takes Over Mexico. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from Fox News LAtino: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/entertainment/2011/12/24/vazquez-sounds-takes-over-mexico/
Vazquez Sounds. (2012, March 2). Vazquez Sounds – The Show (Cover)
[Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7UFm6ErMPU&list=PL7E749432B729E4CA&index=5&feature=plcp
Huaysara Enciso, Alan. (2011, November 23). Los Vazquez Sounds & Adele – Rolling In The Deep [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cI4vdqwjb_s&feature=related