The Future of Music With Technology

  imgres Music has been enhanced with every new technological invention and is a marker of the technological capabilities of that time.  With this realization I would like to explore, by researching, the newest innovations in music technology today and analyze their potential impact on the future of music.  New innovations in music equipment allow artists to have expanded possibilities of creation musically, sonically and production.  The innovations in music technology has had impacts on two aspects of society, the professional artist and the average person who plays and produces their own music.  The effects on the artists are expanded capabilities in aspects of production and sound possibilities, while the effects of the mass consumption of music are the ease of recording and producing to allow the average person to create decent music, affordably.  It is my goal to research the effect of current music technology is on both of these routes and seeks to answer the question, what will the impact on music in the future of the newest technological innovations in the music production field be? The mass consumption of music is primarily through midi controllers due to their ease of use, portability and convenience.  The emerging music technology that will be geared toward the consumer market is the Artiphon.  1)Artiphon is a newly kickstarter funded midi controller that promises anyone will be able to make music with their device.  A midi device is a controller of some sort but, doesn’t contain any actual sounds programmed to play but, can connect to another device that has sounds such as a laptop music program and play those sounds.  This device hooks up to a laptop or computer through USB connection to play sounds from a music software program.  It holds 5 customizable banks of sounds that can be switched with a knob for ease to transition from playing one sound bank, like an instrument, to the next.  The touch pads, what you hit to trigger a sound to be played, on the surface of the remote shaped object are grooved with guitar frets and string lines, for a more precise playing experience of those instruments, in addition to the middle, smooth flat pads for playing piano and percussion instruments.  A quite sophisticated USB remote, with an all in one functionality promises users to be able to play and learn how to play instruments on their device.  This has the potential to be a game changer by promoting people to play music using their device as a hobby and spreading the love for playing music.  The idea is tested and proven by the (2)1.4 million dollar they raised on a kickstarter campaign and now a developed brand with demands exceeding their supply on their website on back order.  Although the Artiphon will spread interest in playing and creating music that can only be good for music in the education it provides in a convenient shape and size, but this is really not an innovation in anyway.  I will be a consumer of the Artiphone but, it is simply a midi technology controller with a different shape. The technology that has the potential to affect music production for artists in the future is Soundtrap.  This website/software is making a breakthrough in the area of connectivity and collaboration for artists at two different places simultaneously.  Collaborations between artists are at an all time high, especially in the EDM and rap/hip-hop genres where so many DJ’s are remixing other DJ’s songs and collaborations between rappers on tracks has been happening for decades.  The site (3)Soundtrap, with their software, is trying to change music collaborations by allowing artists to simultaneously collaborate with each other remotely.  Currently the process for collaborations is one artist creating a part or something then if they wanted to collaborate with another artist they would send this work in progress to the artist to have him add their take on it then send it back when done with his additions and revisions.  Real, in person collaborations, rarely happen anymore due to the hectic schedules of artists that work on the go or that live in different cities.  This current model leaves a lag and disconnect between the artists because it’s just one artist sending music with their view and then the other person takes it and puts his view on it and it’s not a real collaboration effort.  What Soundtrap is trying to do is allow artists a platform to create together simultaneously from different places.  I believe it adds something being able to collaborate in real time between two artists so they can bounce ideas off each other or make changes together.  While this technology is not currently perfect, it has a great idea and the potential to add another dimension of collaborating with artists and shows what technology brings to music production technological advancements.  The idea of collaboration between artists through technological mediums isn’t new, for example electronic artist/producer, deadmau5(4), live streams his studio sessions with his fans, looking for input and sending out ideas on platforms such as soundcloud, a free music uploading community.  This transparency and insight from everyone is a great idea for a next step into music by allowing small, unknown artists like Chris James a platform to be one the top singal’s on deadmau5’s record The Veldt.  The collaboration is discontinuous though in uploading and downloading files in the sense of not really collaborating but revising.  While the idea of collaborating through technological mediums isn’t new the way Soundtrap is developing the technology to push a new advancement. The impact I believe these technologies will have on the future of music is to continue the move toward solo artists/DJ’s who will create and produce their own music and collaborate with other solo artists.  Jim Morrison, the now deceased lead singer of The Doors, in a 1970 interview shared his prediction for the future of music stating, “I can see a future where a single artist will use tapes and sounds to create music”(5), which turned out to be a very accurate forecast of what has become the current model of music.  These solo efforts came with the progression and innovations in technology at that time that had music implications.  This thought of collaboration through technological mediums reminds me of Always On(6), a chapter from the sherry turkle selection we read for class.  One of the ideas of the chapter is that machines are inventing social life by creating groups online where these groups can collaborate to play games and communicate with each other.  It relates in that these artists are collaborating with the technology to produce the sounds they need, in some senses a cyborg.  The trends with new innovations in technology has led to a disconnect in the world of human to human interaction and human to technology device/app and an isolation of society behind tv’s and computer screens.  This is resulting in artists being enhanced by mechanical or technological devices to create(7), a cyborg.  The advancement and affordability in recording and production technology along with the commercialization of these technologies is promoting this sense of cyborgism to be what we call artists.  But as great as these new technologies may be is this too much of a good thing, turning artists to be dependent on technology for creation?  Or is it that technology is creating a sophisticated and intelligent musician by taking their knowledge of technology and applying that to music making.  This movement toward isolation draws a direct parallel from The Machine Stops.  In that society people lived by themselves connected to the world from their intelligent “home” machine.  They became so dependent on the machine that when the machine started malfunctioning, the residents were helpless on their own(8).  This would translate into an extreme case in the music world if all technology just ceased to be but raises the point that the future musician may be more of a programmer or someone with knowledge of electronics and how to make sounds rather than a musician who is trained to compose music and learn how to use the accompanying technology.  This relates to past trends in music innovation where developments came from people like Bob Moog, a electrical engineer who invented the synthesizer, people outside of the music field but in the technology and engineering fields. After further analysis however, I’ve actually learned that i’m disappointed in the current music technology selection and capabilities.  There are a lot more startups like the artiphone, that function more for convenience and are geared toward hobbying musicians. and a lack of innovative technologies that harbor usefulness and ingenuity.  Maybe this is the shift of music, more musicians are gearing toward convenient playing than the next advancement in technology.  However, I still wanted to continue with an analysis of Soundtrap because I believe it is paving the way a future way of collaborating.  If i had to predict the result of a lack of innovations in the market today it would spark ingenuity in artists to create more with what they had and refine it even more.  Either that or music would start to sound stagnant and you wouldn’t hear progressions of artists and music. I believe that there will be an emerging technology that will have an impact on the future of music production but it will be a technological or software developed with applications to music.  That is where society is at this digital time and it will be interesting to see the influence these advancements will have on music production.  Though the Artiphon won’t have much of an impact on changing the future of production methods, it’s design and application will have an impact on the spread of knowledge of music as a hobby.  Through analysis of the emerging technologies and drawing parallels with past music innovation trends and themes, the technology Soundtrap aligns itself with these trends and themes and I will predict that it will have an effect on the future of how music production happens.    

  6. Sherry Turkle. Alone Together. page 153.
  8. Forster. The Machine Stops.  1909

An Archive of our class Archive

For the final blog post I will look back and analyze what I see in our archive of essays/blog posts.  Rather than focus on going through and finding a trend in posts or dive into one aspect of our blog posts I want to focus on the entire archive.  Just scrolling down the New Writings, Technogenesis page you can see the plethora of topics we have created in our class archive by simply reading the titles of these posts.  You will find everything from ‘Horses and Farming’ to ‘Nuclear Weapons’ in our archive of discussions.

A majority I have seen deal with the technology aspect of our class as opposed to science in the biological and medical sense of the word.  I feel like this is an accurate representation of our class coverings as well.  A majority of the readings such as the machine stops, artifact politics and writing machines focused on the technology aspect of our class.  These had really interesting thoughts of what the impact is of how these technologies affect our perception and interaction with reality.  Which, after thinking about this, makes me question what the impact of the interaction we have created among each others creating this archive of blogs and now reflecting on this digital archive and summarizing it is?  I think it’s fantastic that our class has been so fascinated with technology like the blog on electronic asprin.  That really intrigued me because I enjoy technology as well as the medical side of electronic asprin and this would be a great technology for people who suffer severe migranes and headaches.  Another blog I found great was an evolution of the cell phone that showed how far we really have come with mobile phones and the implications each has had on society.

I find it interesting that we as a class used the tag Archive of Feelings more than any other tag to describe what we were writing about and that we are all ending our archives of our experience in science and technology in society with a final archive.  Was it the correlation of contributing our thoughts into an archive and therefore creating an archive of feelings or the reading archive of feelings was so profound that it related to so much of our class.  Or am I just reading into this too much, I don’t know if there’s a wrong answer because all three are plausible.

I am glad that we created our class blog to share freely our “archive of feelings” and opinions of technologies and science right now in our lifes.  It’s great that technology gives us this great opportunity to to archive our life at periods like these for eternity really.  Thinking back, what if our great, great, great ancestors had this opportunity, wouldn’t it be interesting to see their views of issues held up through time.  Well now anyone can see our classes views and topics from this semester forever, we can show our next generation and the next this is what my views were and how I felt at this moment and these were the technologies we were talking about at this time.

Outline of Future of Music

Essay Outline

Research question:

  • What are emerging musical technologies that will have an impact on music
    • Artiphon
      • midi reideration
      • using iphone as source/bank of sounds
      • creating app to go along with controller to make even more customizable
      • an all in one compact controller
        • allows anyone to make music as long as they have a phone

I think that because it’s so versatile that it will appeal to more people, not just “musicians” but music lovers who want to create their own sounds but don’t have the money or knowledge or skill to play an instrument

broaden the scope of music production for better or worse but allow the ease of music creation, whether this is a good idea or not, having people think they can create a hit or giving people who have no business creating music an opportunity

    • Ableton
      • music production software
      • uniqueness is the ability to create and alter frequencies, filters and sounds in real time and makes it simple
      • it’s a simple interface but has pushed the envelope and led to the potential future of having producers in different rooms work on a project together simultaneously
      • interaction and collaboration of music
        • deadmau5
        • giving platforms such as soundcloud allows collaboration between big artists and unknown “diamonds in the rough”
        • the transparency of artists recording (livestreaming from studio making music, not just a check in, the actual recording process)
        • soundtrap
          • emerging technology that is claiming to improve seamless and simultaneous collaboration of artists in different places on a track
          • problem with current simultaneous collaboration is there is a lag and it’s slow, not truely seamless

  • future of music going solo, but these solo artists collaborating with each other more, and with more ease in real time.
    • Jim Morrison prediction from 1970’s (on breakin a sweat) of solo musicians producing own music
    • alot of DJ’s now, electronic music upstart
    • collaboration is happening more between them, the remix and the ease of sending and collaborating
    • is it the solo artist that causes the ease of collaboration or is it the ease of collaboration that allows the solo artist
    • both are going hand in hand right now, not much collaboration between artists except rap
    • the progression of music has showed that the future is solo artists with collaborations ( rap the last 30 years until today)


  • Audiophile resources
    • people are demanding better quality audio
      • pono
      • Tidal
      • record sales
      • headphones
        • beats, monster, bose
      • headphone amplifiers

right now there’s a huge potential shift in the way music consumers will receive music and artists will be able to release music

More and more people are demanding a higher standard in paying artists and higher quality of music that is delivered.  It’s been all about getting close to the master track that artists hear and determine is the best.  Through cassette, cd and mp3 these qualities are compressed and lost and we don’t get to hear the best and actual version of the song the artist intended us to hear.  This has been a growing movement over the last few years that I’ve been following.  It’s picked up a lot of pace starting with the demand for vinyl to shoot through the roof.  Just within the last year vinyl sales have increased by over 50% because people want the better quality.

Second the shift in the premium headphone market relfects the mainstream desires for better sound as cool, beats by dre most notably, but Bose has been in this space for well longer but really beats was the company that blew this market up.  along with the demand for better sound comes demands for better, more affordable technology to give the consumers a better listening experience.

One of the newest innovations was the Pono system, a portable music system, like an ipod that has developed their own store as well of high fidelity, lossless quality master recording of artists through their store and to be played through their player which are over 100x better quality than cd and mp3 compressed qualities.  this shift in demand for higher quality has been mostly in part to musicians demanding for such that is now catching on to mainstream.  As record sales have declined, the streaming market with platforms such as pandora and spotify have emerged as the new winners.  But all of this is changing with the latest platform, Tidal, offering high fidelity streaming for a monthly subscription.  This is putting together the demand for high quality audio with the current evolution and preference streaming.  

Research Methods for music technology innovations

To find answers i will primarily use the google search engine to find results along with using the library system to find any articles or journals on hand to help.  The relevant class text I plan on using would be “The Machine Stops Reading” if I were to chose music production progression as my topic of research.  I could write a paper on multiple aspects of music production.  Some of the avenues I could explore would possibly be analyzing the history of  all musical instruments, or choose to narrow down and look at a particular technology that was a game changer or new progressions in music technology currently.  I would conclude from these analyzations the impact that it had on music, sonically, and production wise.

I have a knowledge of music as a percussionist, music appreciator and keep up with  what is currently going on in music technology, so I would use that knowledge as a tool in addition to websites and forums for music production.  Another great addition to researching through online mediums and my knowledge will be the resources and access to history of rock n roll materials I still have access to.  In class we brought up the emerging technologies in music and showed how that changed music and shaped the sound of generations.

  Through these analyzations I would seek to answer the questions, what is the effect electronic instrumentation and music has had on the distinction of composition versus performance, speculate on current technologies and what their impact will be on the future of music, and are we really progressing and innovating in music today or just rehashing old stuff with new sounds (blurred lines and stay with me).  The effect that electronic instrumentation has had on music is enormous on so many different spectrums in music, the sounds you can now create, the ease at which artists( or people who have no business making music at all) can create music and the most interesting to me, the isolation it has promoted to to music makers.  Back in the good old days you needed a band to get a full sound with an audio engineer, producer and loads of other people to make music.  Now all of those titles have converged into one, the solo artist who can create music by themselves whether it lenny kravitz playing every instrument on their records or skrillex who creates all sounds on his computer and produces them himself.  Technology has made available the resources for there to be a all in one musician which interests me because of the progression of what is now possible, it fascinates me.  Also live technology has had the implication of going to a show and seeing one person, i’ll again use skrillex as the example, up on stage on their computer.  Now are they even doing anything up there, who knows it could all be playing off of a prepared usb stick, ask calvin harris when he had to cancel his tour because he lost his.  Does this add to a live performance or make it boring compared to seeing 5 guys in a band up there moving around and dancing and all that crazy stuff?     

Personal Research Reflection

Personal research reflection

  • what brings me to this investigation?


By brainstorming over the last week I have decided to investigate the evolution of musical technologies.  As narrowed down as this is there are still many aspects I can cover within this topic.  The real question is what has brought me to have the desire to investigate this topic further in my life?

what brings me to this investigation is my quest for further knowledge in technologies and my desire to expand my understanding of music.  Having a thirst for all knowledge in life is my mindset, having more knowledge makes you a more educated person in life in general and gives you the ability to be able to contribute something more to the world.  Apply this  drive to a topic I am already interested in and this will be fun.  I get to research a topic that pertains to my identity for a grade.


  • what about my location and identity influences how i might see this?


My location and identity greatly impacted my mindset and me as a person.  My geographic location growing up gave me a life with little to do around me, forcing me to create my own things to do to pass time.  This need to create led me to taking up piano and later percussion instruments, leading me to my identity as a musician.  Identifying as a musician and creative allows you to see the evolution of musical instruments through the perception of a musician who has a knowledge of music instrumentation and creation.  Being a musician and creative lets me see the technologies through the perspective of a technology and the possibilities for creation of music, understanding the technical as well as musical aspects of an instrument is important for being able to get the most out of the device as possible.


  • what experiences have I had with this in the past?

In the past I have had 10 years experience with music as a consumer, fan, concert goer and musician.  In the past, the main instrument was drums and understanding music structurally and translating sheet music into action is useful for understanding music and being able to dissect and understand what people are doing or conveying leads to the relationship between that person and instrument.  In addition to playing drums i’ve picked up some guitar and taught myself to play piano as well as set up live sound for concerts and been in recording sessions with other artists.  I believe this well rounded knowledge in multiple aspects of music will be valuable and contribute greatly to my paper by being able to draw from these experiences to analyze and convey to the audience the impact of particular musical technologies over time.  The development of instrument technologies have created relationships and dependence on between the creative and the technology to be able to convey them into music.  The people have had a dependence on the instruments they play and the instruments need the people to play them to be able to give off the sounds, “they’re not gonna play themselves”.     

Blog Post 4

Some possible topics for my final paper/project that I would like to explore would be mobile banking/payment technologies, the evolution from acoustic to analog to digital instrument technologies in music or progression of learning mediums.  These seem interesting to me because they will all allow me the opportunity to research these technologies further and learn even more than I already know about them.

With cyber hacking and identity theft at all time highs exploring the emerging technologies such as the different RFID chips in credit cards and the newest medium of payment through cell phone apps such as apple pay and google wallet.  After watching a 60 minutes segment about cyber credit card hacking and identity theft I learned that there are different RFID, Radio Frequency Identification, what stores your financial information in the card and different levels of security with each.  Apparently the chips in the US credit cards are the least secured in the world, the europeans are the most secured and this isn’t due to the cost of the additional security measures because it’s about the same it’s just that the banks don’t feel the need to switch.  The payment through phones is actually supposed to be the most advanced and secure method of transactions because it requires a pin to get into the account and no personal information is exchanged at any time during the transactions.

The evolution of musical instruments is so broad and spans centuries, it is so interesting to see how an instrument such as the piano was created and invented and then progressed into the analog synthesizer in the 1960’s and into the MIDI technology that allows keyboards to be plugged directly into computers and laptops to create music digitally.  Humans have always found a method to make music no matter how primitive, and it has been a constant evolution.  From basic percussion instruments such as rocks to pianos, violins cellos, bass and so many more the progression of instruments due to the progressions in technology available to create more.

The different mediums and resources we have access to now to be able to learn just about anything is amazing.  The movement from in-class teachers lecturing and physical books to the e-book and online resources such as khanacademy has changed the way people learn and even created a new schooling system with cyber high schools and online colleges.  The technological aspect of new learning has changed and helped me personally through school.  Simply with resources such as Khanacademy people have access to well explained, reliable knowledge.  People now have to work at an earlier age to have the ability to go to school and some work so much but still have a desire to go to college but couldn’t afford to quit work to attend college.  So the online university was invented to cater to these individuals thirst for knowledge while allowing them to keep their jobs and keep working.  It offers them the convenience and flexibility to do the work when and where they can during the day instead of having to attend classes at a specific time and location.   

Analysis of reddit

Kyle Ladner

Science & Technology Midterm Paper



Reddit as a medium covers the criteria for being a news source, blog site, educational resource, forum and archive of life.  Reddit has pioneered their diverse online platform to cater to the plethora of communities and users needs and desire for online communities and content.  Through its diverse communities and user participation, reddit has become a site portraying different technological mediums.

The front page of the internet, reddits slogan, describes the functionality of reddit being the news source for everything happening on the internet.  The site was designed to be a hub for as much content as possible across the web.  It has succeeded at this due to user participation in providing content and the number of users it has amassed since its 2005 launch.  Users select the articles and materials that make it to the front page, the first page you see when you go to  Users have the power on reddit because they post the stories they want and links they find entertaining or insightful to add to the reddit communities discussion.  Reddit’s layout and features, upvotes and downvotes, let the users determine what content will be displayed on the site.  The front page is a great example of how influential users are to reddit and how much power they are given through the site.  As opposed to the traditional news site where the stories they display are determined by editors, reddit gives a place for communities of people to share like ideas as they perceive them.  The traditional model is flawed because it is not a reflection of the true views of the people but with an added slant from bias or a political agenda, which get pushed onto us, and influence our perception of events.  By depending on user provided content reddit gives a more accurate view of current events by allowing the users to provide their thoughts and have many different opinions and communities to share with, giving many different aspects and opinions in comments available to the consumer of news.

As a medium of information and news, reddit succeeds because of the user.   User provided content consists of both, user submitted news and users submitting local, national and international news sources to reddit.  This, accompanied by the feedback users provide, gives users the opportunity to see many different takes on current happenings and see the reaction from users.  This is versatile because instead of the standard internet news article and the comment section below the actual story, user feedback becomes a story of itself.  Reddit itself doesn’t post actual stories and events but users share links to news sites the stories are written for and provides an environment for discussion and sharing of ideas to the world.

Reddit diversifies itself by also providing an information medium for education through the AMA and reddit ask sub-reddits.  The AMA, ask me anything, provides user with the medium to have experiences not before possible.  Users were afforded the opportunity to ask questions to real,  certified, experts in their fields, providing a place of knowledge.  The sub-reddit is what allows reddit to be an organized archive of life and medium with so much information.  Sub-reddits are communities within reddit that focus on one topics information, happenings and hosting discussions on the topic.  For example, the /r/AskScience Vaccine Megathread, gives the most medically correct information surrounding vaccines.  The sub-reddit is regulated by a group of pre-qualified panelists and each comment is fact checked  to filter only the most precise information.   The AMA has featured  scientists, experts in their field like, nuclear fusion scientists(1), as well as the likes of celebrity comedian, Chris Rock(2),  giving users the opportunity to connect with these great minds and icons they could not have had otherwise.  In addition to being, well cool, these encounters led to the ease of access to reliable knowledge, making reddit also be a great educational resource for people to use.  The educational resource aspect of Reddit provides another dimension to the blog format by providing specific subreddits that provide reliable and accurate information to viewers.  Having access to such information so accessible allows the promotion of education to users and society.

Reddit acts as an archive of life through the archive of the users life and an archive of the world at the time.  Reddit is a digital archive of the user because, like other social media sites a user has their own profile, which displays the posts and comments you have made and the threads you have upvoted and subreddits you follow.  Reddit is a reflection of the users interests on many different topics at one time and captures these moments as an archive of them during their time using the site.  Reddit captures the users life better as an archive because it reflects the political issues you’re reading, the subreddits you’re interested in and the progression of ones and societies views throughout time.  This is unique and different to news or social media sites because news sites don’t keep track of the articles you personally view, or at least don’t let you know this information.  An example of an archive that comes to my mind is a thread post from january 20th of this year by a guy live blogging the events of his wife cheating on him, leading to a divorce for the reddit community to tune into to over four days(3).  This story is a great example of how reddit can be used as an archive of life, unfortunately for this man but great material for the rest of us, by giving the platform and means to preserve this moment in history.  The next reason why I like the example above is because it drives home the community aspect of reddit by the different ways this story was perceived.  Some saw it as a hoax, others as comedy but either way it was portrayed or interpreted a community popped up around this one mans story to give sympathy, advice and poke fun at his woes.  This blog captivated such attention that reddit credited its servers crashing to the traffic generated on the first day of posting.  From the example above I conclude that reddit is an entertainment source as well as a type of social media site, allowing users to follow and create archives of lives and discuss them through sub-reddits.

In addition to being a digital archive on a personal level, reddit acts as a time capsule of society throughout time.  Through having such a large user base, 174 million posts per month on average(4), allows us to model society through this database.  Sub-reddits provide the best analysis of specific views and progression of events happening in the communities.  Reddit having 9000 sub-reddits  is large enough as well to have a model of americas reaction to an event through user discussions, posts and viewed articles throughout time.

As a social media site/blog I prefer reddit to others because it has more of a stripped down feel than a typical social media site.  There is no designated page with all of your information and life displayed, replacing these typical definitions of a person and reflecting the person through articles the user has posted or read and opinions they have left through comments on posts.  Reddit represents the users interests at different periods of time, as well as a reflection of your opinions on topics and happenings throughout your time on reddit.  Along with the striped down layout, the aspect of animitity, people don’t see a picture of me, see my details or what layout I chose for my profile, just my opinions and articles and news I find stimulating.  Of course if I chose to do so I can always post links to my other accounts such as imgur with pictures and such if I chose to do so but I like the creation of a community of anonymous people.

Relating reddits user based model to Plato’s theory of governing society, “governing a society is like sailing a ship, ship can’t be run democratically, but by a captain and his crew”(5).  Although reddit is not running a government in the aspect of the internet, where so much we see on the news has a political undertone or slanted take on how to write about events, reddit is controlled by the people, going against Plato’s theory, making the front page of the internet a democracy.

Reddit is a diverse technological medium that has many different messages to offer to a multitude of cultures by providing a platform to be a news source, blog site, educational resource, forum and archive of life.  Through its diverse functionality and user participation, reddit has become a one stop shop for everything one does on the internet.  Reddit relates to our class by being a technological medium containing a plethora of information, as well as an archive of life by promoting users content and preserving their preferred topics over time.


(2) 2015

(3 2015

(4) 2014

(5) The Whale and The Reactor. Artifacts Politics. Pg. 31. 

Analysis of The Digital Life Archive and Its Effect On Society

The concept of having a portable, mechanized life archive has intrigued us since the end of World War Two(1).  It has appealed to us because in the pre-digital archive world, having an archive of your life was through physical mediums such as papers, pictures and records, objects that took up space.  The thought of having access to these objects in a digital sense would allow portability to the user and the ability to access these life archives from anywhere.  The concept of having a digital life archive as Turkle suggests allows us convenience and portability, but has led to a dependence on technology in society that has changed the way humans interact and communicate.

To help us with our quest to archive our life through digital technology, the cell phone has been the largest innovation and the closest to the MIT cyborg experiment(2).  The idea of the cyborg was someone who was connected to the internet at all time and could look up stuff at the click of a button.  In exchange for the convenience of having access to technology such as cell phones and computers we have given up our freedom to live life in the moment and are bound to these devices to keep creating our digital archive of life.  I see it as we don’t experience life for ourselves anymore, we experience life for others by capturing our life and posting it to social media sites.  In chapter 13, Turkle says, “Tech is bad because people aren’t strong enough for its pull”(3).  Just these two technologies have had a profound impact on society, for example in college lecture halls what used to be the students paying attention to the lecture has become a majority of students having their laptops open to news and social media sites or texting on their cell phones.

Computers, cell phones and other like technologies were developed with the thought of speeding up tasks and help us to be able to do work more efficiently to free up to so we may enjoy life more.  However, it has turned into technology possessing a pull and addiction that we as humans feed right into.  When you’re standing in a line waiting what is your first reaction? To pull out your phone and perform a search or go to your social media sites to see what other people are up to.  This is why I think the title of this book, Alone Together, is so fitting because we isolate ourselves from human interaction, as the example above suggests, but are together through online forms of social interaction(4).  These unintended consequences are shaping our society and can even tie into the eharmony and online dating readings we discussed Friday.  Because we are increasingly shifting from the landscape of direct human communication to technological mediums such as texting, and facetime more and more social norms will be taking place through technology as has transformed dating into an online entity.  As to be seen if this is ultimately good or bad, technological dependence by humans is happening and transforming the world we live in.

(1) Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together. pg. 299

(2)Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together. pg. 299

(3)Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together. pg. 242

(4)Tardanico, Susan, Is Social Media Sabotaging Real Communication?.

The Change of the Music Marketplace Experience

As a continuation to my last blog post, going in depth with iTunes, I would like to now explore how the medium of iTunes created its own virtual environment to distribute music and affect our experience and buying music.  iTunes is unique in that it’s the only digital media marketplace that requires you to download software to your device or comes pre-installed on all Apple products.  With other digital media stores such as amazon the user can simply access their digital media store and purchases by visiting their website,  What Apple offers with iTunes is convenience and syncing across Apple products for the user and it pioneered this craft because it was the first digital media marketplace of its kind and time.

Apple changed everything about the process of buying a record and experiencing the physical copy of a record.  The clash of new and old was inevitable by the way iTunes flipped the buying experience for consumers from personal to digital.  Up until the 2000’s, connoisseurs of music were accustomed to going to record stores and buying physical copies of music in CD’s or vinyl.  iTunes cut out the inconvenience and hassle of having to go to the record store and allow those who download their software the option to buy music right from their computer and have it playing in seconds.  Through iTunes, Apple changed the whole experience of going out and buying music as well, no more was there a collection of people outside of a Tower Record store for a midnight release party of their favorite bands new album.  Apple changed the whole experience of the physical record, from  opening a CD case, looking at the included artwork and sometimes included extras that would come with records to going to your computer clicking buy and listening to your music through your computer or with the iPod.

I would argue that iTunes destroyed a lot of social interaction between music lovers through the atmosphere that is lost from going to record stores.  It used to be that you could go in to a record store and explore all the different music that was there, interact with other perusers and get suggestions from the employees or people there based on selections you liked.  With iTunes you have the new releases at the top of the page and the top singles and albums taking up the home screen.  Although apple has the “Genius” which uses an algorithm to determine songs you may like based on purchases you’ve made with them, it’s not the same.  It loses the personal connection and replaces that with some machine and code saying if you like this then what about this.  I’ve never found this very helpful at least.

Apple has changed the environment in buying music from record stores, being around other music lovers and fans and the experience of having the physical copy of a record.  Apple completely destroyed these practices for convenience and the ability for iTunes users to download albums from their collection instead.  In addition to that they have changed the whole way we view music from a once physical form to now something we can’t see or feel, it’s now an immaterial form which gives off a different experience.


Artifact Politics


Apple changed the world with the invention and deployment of iTunes, a technological breakthrough.  However, through exploring the political dimensions of iTunes it can be seen that the marketplace has had an authoritarian type of impact on the music business and artists in a negative way.

iTunes is the most used and downloaded digital music marketplace where users can upload and burn music from their own collections to play on their computers as well as purchase music, audio books, TV shows and movies from the iTunes store.  Users can buy music from iTunes from any apple product and PC’s, making it very convenient to make purchases on the go or if the desire to purchase a song strikes you at 2 a.m..  iTunes has given the consumer a very convenient and user friendly marketplace where they have the option to buy single songs off of an album as compared to before where you needed to purchase the entire physical cd or album from a store.  This makes a lot of consumers happy because they only want to listen to the hits and can bypass the “filler” songs.  iTunes has catered to the desires of the consumers of the market, made music much more accessible to consumers and made their consumers happy, however the impact iTunes has had on the record industry and for artists hasn’t been so kind.

iTunes political dimension is authoritarian in the music industry.  They are the number one seller of music, on track to (2) gross $18 billion dollars in 2014, it’s almost impossible for artists to not be a part of the iTunes community just for the traffic and exposure it brings.  The option to purchase just one song off of an albums, however, has impacted the artist by now only allowing them to receive royalties for that .99 cents or $1.29 from iTunes as compared to royalties from the $10.99 album as a whole.  After some research, off of a .99 cent song, the artist receives .0001 cents, less than a penny.  iTunes has made an effort to help artists out by raising the price of songs recently from .99 cents to $1.29 which from my research equated to the artist now receiving (3) .20 cents per song.  This has impacted the music industry as a whole by straining budgets for artists and made them less willing to invest money into new, up and coming artists.  This has led to cheaper production on new artists records, and a lack of incentive for artists to pursue music as a career.

Through iTunes’ authoritarian political dimensions, new artists have to accept they won’t be making much money off of record sales and must continue to find new outlets to get their music out.  Through the squeezing of artists iTunes creating the streaming market, where applications such as spotify exist.  Users can either pay $5/month for ad free content which spotify pays the artists royalties, or users can listen for free with advertisements popping up every now and again to have the money to pay the royalties that way.  Above that, spotify is shown to pay out higher royalties based on the number of streams the artists receive, averaging around (4) .20 cents per 60 streams for the artists.


(1) iTunes logo,, 5 September 2013

(2)Juli Clover,, 7/22/2014

(3 & 4)  Max H.,, 8/6/2013