Modern music’s constant evolution

Other | Monday 20th March 2017 | Annalisa

If there’s anything we can expect from music in 2017, it’s that you can’t pin it down. Whether it’s artists abandoning the traditional album format, listeners finding new ways to hunt down new sounds, or online games providing new revenues for musicians, it all shows how fast things have changed in a handful of decades.

For many, the 1970s and 1980s were the golden age of recorded music where major record labels used massive revenues of album sales to make the likes of Michael Jackson and Madonna global icons.

But ever since mp3s and iPods started changing the way that we consume music, it’s also affected the way that artists create music. Whilst albums still represent the main way that artists release music, the fact that Kanye West altered his The Life of Pablo album after its release indicates that things are rapidly changing.

It’s largely due to the rise of streaming services like Spotify that things have been thrown into flux. These services have become hugely popular through allowing users to create playlists that throw the emphasis on a single track rather than an entire album.

The 1980s saw artists like Frankie Goes To Hollywood releasing many remixes of the same song to sustain a high charts position, we’ve now reached the point where it’s hard to say whether a song can truly be ‘finished’.

And whilst the likes of Kanye West endlessly tinker with their released music, other artists have found that the hugely popular world of video games offers a more profitable source of revenues than the streaming services.

We’ve seen AAA titles like Grand Theft Auto using multiple radio stations to add an authentic atmosphere to the gaming action. And games as far-ranging as No Man’s Sky, Max Payne and even the slots games at Betway all have innovative soundtracks that shows how gaming opens up new ways for musicians to get their music heard.

However, despite online games and streaming services offering an easy way to access a global audience, it’s comforting to see that other areas of modern music still haven’t changed.

Performing live still represents one of the best ways for a musician to stand out from the digital crowd. As well as the host of promotional activities like radio play and web-based interviews that live performances offer, it offers a visceral physical experience that cannot be experienced from a computer screen.

But with virtual reality concerts on their way, it seems as though even the humble live music concert could soon be changing too!