The Technological Changes of Music Production

As the world becomes more technologically advanced, we see can observe many changes that have taken place. Music production is an area where this is just as apparent. If we look back just 100 years, more technologically advanced countries are almost unrecognizable from their dated counterpart. Music has almost fundamentally changed over the years. But, how has ever-advancing technology changed the core of music production? This paper sets out to observe the recording process to collaboration and the changes that have taken place as technology has advanced, beginning with the recording process.

One of the first and most fundamental changes that has taken place in music production is the recording process. When music was first being recorded and produced, the musicians all had to get together in one room and record their song until they all played their parts perfectly and with minimal error. The song structure was strictly limited to what the band had decided on, before any recording took place. The sound of the instruments and vocals were also pre-determined. A lot of thought and effort went into writing and practicing this so that their song would sound exactly as they had planned. The effort was all in the pre-recording phase. Today, most of the effort goes into editing in the post-recording process.

Unlike music that was recorded in the past, song structure and overall sound is developed after the recording has taken place. The pre-recording process still requires a certain amount of preparation and planning. However, the majority of the work takes place after the recording is finished. The artist is no longer limited by what the instrument or vocals sound like as they are being recorded. Any recording can be tweaked and altered to fit whatever sound they desire. If the artist or producer prefers a higher octave or a different note in the recorded vocals, they can simply edit it without needing the vocalist to come back in and re-record it. This opens up incredible possibilities of song structure and sound that can have an intense effect of the mood of the listener.

When thinking about how the song is to be structured and what mood the listener should feel, the artist is open to a wide variety of possibilities. In electronic dance music (EDM), the song’s structure plays a huge roll in the effect the song has on the listeners. There are many different techniques that are used in EDM specifically used to hype the crowd up. The techniques are used to give the listener to feeling of being lifted off of the ground, filled with anticipation, and then dropped back down to the ground. These techniques are analyzed and explained in an article called “Waiting for the bass to drop” by Ragnhild Torvanger Solberg. Solberg used commonly used terms such as “build up”, “drop”, and “uplifters” to describe the production techniques that are used. He also introduces a new term, which he calls the “drum roll effect(Solberg). The “Build up” refers to the part of the song that gives the listener an increased feeling of being lifted. “Uplifters” refer to the kinds of effects the artist will use to enhance a “build up” section. The “drop” is the part of the song, at the end of a “build up”, where the listener gets the sensation of being dropped back down to the ground after the feeling of being lifted. He describes the “drum roll effect” as “a frequently used technique in newer EDM where the prominent rhythmical pattern, often the snare drum, becomes increasingly divided until the return of the core, starting out with quarter notes and culminating in a drum roll right before the bass drops and the bass drum returns.”(Solberg) Solberg’s article goes onto explain the effects by using a spectrogram of a song’s (“Icarus” by ‘Madeon’) wavelengths to provide a visual of the production that takes place.

music

You can see from the image that the song’s frequencies show a clearly visual increase as it approaches the drop and into the core section of the song. These production techniques create an unmatchable mood shift that can only be achieved through modern, post-recorded editing techniques. This fundamental change in technology opens the artist up to be able to alter the sound bytes to intensify the emotion desired. This technology allows artists to move away from the idea of writing a song and recording the “one perfect take” to more compositional piece in which the artist has total control. This opens the floor up for an even greater element of creativity: collaboration.

With each artist’s album release, each album gets better, or more complex. This complexity can be viewed as the artist growing and mastering his or her craft. This is without a doubt a factor in the evolution of all artists during their careers. However, one big reason that the music becomes more complex and involved is the new people and technology that they are introduced to through the technology of music production and producers.

The average person does not give much thought into the amount of production and collaboration that goes into making this new album what it is, which is mostly done by relatively anonymous producers. In some cases, the original artist has little to do with the overall sound of the album. The record company will generally hire experienced producers and engineers to master and re-master the song ideas. The artist may have originally written the song on an acoustic guitar to plan out what chords, timing, and vocal melody he or she wants the song to incorporate. Then, the artist will sit down with a producer and begin to record. The producer, depending on the artist’s contract with the record company, has the final say in what chords to actually use and what lyrics to sing whether the artist wants this or not. Typically, it’s, economically, for the better, because the producer has a better feel for what demographic the particular artist is appealing to. Max Martin is a famed record producer with over 17 #1 hits that he either co-wrote and/or produced. Including: Katy Perry featuring Kanye West, “E.T.” 2011, Maroon 5, “One More Night,” 2012, and Taylor Swift, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” 2012(Billboard). “He ranks behind only Paul McCartney, with 32, and John Lennon with 26(Billboard). This is an amazing feat in the field of music writing. That being said, it’s astounding to think that he is still relatively unknown to the average person. These top artists owe a huge debt to Martin for his expertise in writing and mastering their songs. His skill in appealing to the masses and, particularly, to the artist’s target demographic. In an interview, Martin said this, “I think the ‘target market’ and ‘audience’ tends to come with the artist. If I’m doing something with a young pop artist I may not choose to have a brass section in a song, for example. Sometimes you have to think about what the artist already is”(Ask Billboard). Although these producers work behind the scenes, popular music today would not be the same or, arguably, as good without their expertise and the technology they use to master the tracks. Technological changes and the exploitation of collaboration have no doubt changed the direction, style and execution of music. But, there is some controversy surrounding one element of collaboration. Often times, a less consensual form of execution. This is called sampling.

As one listens to popular music, whether it is on the radio or in one’s own personal collection, one cannot help but to hear a piece of another artist’s music embedded within. This can be subtle to the point that it goes unnoticed by the average person. It could be in the vocals, a guitar lick, or something as small as the drum kick that only comes in once every 3 bars of music. But it is, in essence, a rip off of the original artist. This technique is called sampling. The perspective of the original artist varies case by case. Some are ok with the idea of hearing their voice or drum beat incorporated into other songs. Others are furious that their work has been copied and pasted into someone else’s work for their own benefit.

There is a lot of gray area to this issue. There are laws in place to help rectify the matter. But, is this enough to keep all parties happy? Even in the event that strict permission is given, there have been parties that have felt wronged. An article by Molly Mcgraw helps shed some light onto this issue. She tells the story of David Johnson and Jan Hammer. “David Earl Johnson who allowed computer-keyboardist Jan Hammer to sample his drum sounds on rare, eighty-year-old Nigerian conga drums. Later, after Johnson recognized his drum sounds running through the entire Miami Vice soundtrack, he sought payment for what he perceived to be his contribution to the composition. He was told by Hammer’s manager that he wanted ‘money for doing nothing’ and the American Federation of Musicians refused to take his case.”(law.berkeley.edu) In this case, there was arguably nothing done wrong by Hammer. He asked for permission to use Johnson’s drums sample and Johnson gave it. Johnson could have been more specific about the limit of usage of these. But even the legal system has no test case that a court can use in a copyright case. Each lawsuit must be individually decided on a case-by-case basis based on whether the sample used is original to the plaintiff. The law states that “Originality denotes only enough definite expression so that one may distinguish authorship, i.e., there must be an identifiable element of personality.” (law.berkeley.edu) So, with these safeguards in place, it makes it easier for artists to win in a lawsuit against copyright infringement. However, the problem lies in whether or not the original artist’s music can be discernable on the track. Frank Zappa was the first to fully protect a full album from copyright infringement from sampling down to the wave pattern level. It requires more effort and money to get this type of protection than what is provided at default from simply recording and distributing an album. Should the law be changed to protect the artist further by default? This issue definitely deserves some more legal attention to decide what the limits should be in regards to sampling. However, this advance in technology has the ability to enhance the effectiveness that music has on mood the listener.

As music becomes more digital and become stored into massive databases online, it creates an incredible archive in which one can pick just the right elements to create a composition of emotion and intensity. In a book by Ann Cvetkovich called An Archive of Feelings she talks about an “archive in which my own feelings are deposited”(Cvetkovich) that the artist Le Tigre created with the songs they played at a live concert. This same concept can be applied to the archive of recorded music available online. Through the advances in technology, an artist can select and modify any one sample of another artist’s work and, with permission, can create an emotional masterpiece for the world to become engulfed by. This level of depth could not be achieved without the more recent advances in technology. And it is exciting to see what the future holds for musical technology and production.

Works Cited

“Ask Billboard: Max Martin Notches Another No. 1.” Billboard. N.p., n.d. Web.<http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/6327746/ask-billboard-max-martin-notches-another-no-1&gt;.

Cvetkovich, Ann. Archive of Feelings. N.p., n.d. Print.

“Max Martin Interview – Popjustice.” Popjustice RSS. N.p., 27 Apr. 2009. Web.<http://www.popjustice.com/interviewsandfeatures/max-martin-interview/49884/&gt;.

“SOUND SAMPLING PROTECTION AND INFRINGEMENT.” SOUND SAMPLING PROTECTION AND INFRINGEMENT. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2015. <http://www.law.berkeley.edu/journals/btlj/articles/vol4/McGraw/HTML/text.html&gt;.

TORVANGER SOLBERG, RAGNHILD. “Waiting For The Bass To Drop”: Correlations Between Intense Emotional Experiences And Production Techniques In Build-Up And Drop Sections Of Electronic Dance Music.” Dancecult: Journal Of Electronic Dance Music Culture 6.1 (2014): 61-82. Academic Search Complete. Web.

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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.    

  1. http://www.artiphon.com/
  2. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/artiphon/introducing-the-artiphon-instrument-1
  3. https://medium.com/@pavelc/future-of-music-production-and-creative-collaborations-e0ecea44169c
  4. https://medium.com/@pavelc/future-of-music-production-and-creative-collaborations-e0ecea44169c
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWmMVmiGJD0
  6. Sherry Turkle. Alone Together. page 153.
  7. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cyborg
  8. Forster. The Machine Stops.  1909

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”.     

The Audio Sampling Controversy

Listening to a song in popular music, whether it is on the radio or in one’s own personal collection, one cannot help but to hear a piece of another artist’s music embedded within. This can be subtle to the point that it goes unnoticed by the average person. It could be in the vocals, a guitar lick, or something as small as the drum kick that only comes in once every 3 bars of music. But it is, in essence, a rip off of the original artist. This is called sampling. The perspective of the original artist varies case by case. Some are ok with the idea of hearing their voice or drum beat incorporated into other songs. Others are furious that their work has been copied and pasted into someone else’s work for their own benefit. The key objective behind this paper is to ask the question: When is it justifiable to sample without permission?

There is a lot of gray area to this issue. There are laws in place to help rectify the matter. But, is this enough to keep all parties happy? Even in the event that strict permission is given, there have been parties that have felt wronged. An article by Molly Mcgraw helps shed some light onto this issue. She tells the story of David Johnson and Jan Hammer. “David Earl Johnson who allowed computer-keyboardist Jan Hammer to sample his drum sounds on rare, eighty-year-old Nigerian conga drums. Later, after Johnson recognized his drum sounds running through the entire Miami Vice soundtrack, he sought payment for what he perceived to be his contribution to the composition. He was told by Hammer’s manager that he wanted ‘money for doing nothing’ and the American Federation of Musicians refused to take his case.”(1) In this case, there was arguably nothing done wrong by Hammer. He asked for permission to use Johnson’s drums sample and Johnson gave it. Johnson could have been more specific about the limit of usage of these. But even the legal system has no test case that a court can use in a copyright case. Each lawsuit must be individually decided on a case-by-case basis based on whether the sample used is original to the plaintiff. The law states that “Originality denotes only enough definite expression so that one may distinguish authorship, i.e., there must be an identifiable element of personality.”(1) So, with these safeguards in place, it makes it easier for artists to win in a lawsuit against copyright infringement. However, the problem lies in whether or not the original artist’s music can be discernable on the track. Frank Zappa was the first to fully protect a full album from copyright infringement from sampling down to the wave pattern level. It requires more effort and money to get this type of protection than what is provided at default from simply recording and distributing an album. Should the law be changed to protect the artist further by default? This issue definitely deserves some more legal attention to decide what the right decision is.

Footnotes:

  1. “SOUND SAMPLING PROTECTION AND INFRINGEMENT.” SOUND SAMPLING PROTECTION AND INFRINGEMENT. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2015. <http://www.law.berkeley.edu/journals/btlj/articles/vol4/McGraw/HTML/text.html&gt;.

Hip Hop and Technology: From Turntables to Computers

Introduction: Hip Hop and Technology. What forms of technology are used in hip-hop music? How have these technologies evolved? Is there a need for DJ’s since most of them now use computers, and do not use turntables or records anymore?

  1. History of Hip Hop:

What did music sound like before hip-hop?

Race music: Billie Holiday “Strange Fruit”

1960 events: free love, Civil Rights, Vietnam, drug culture, Baby Boomers

Where did hip-hop originate?

-The Bronx

1970s: Hip Hop begins to spread beyond the Bronx, but disco still dominates the radio and club scene

Was hip-hop limited to one area?

The Dirty South

OutKast

Ludacris

The East coast

Run DMC

LL Cool J

Public Enemy

The West coast

Ice T

N.W.A.

Tupac Shakur

How did other countries influence hip -hop, such as Jamaica, Latin America, and Africa?

Who are the founding fathers of hip-hop?

DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash

What are the four main elements of hip-hop, such as the MC, the Deejay, break dancing (expressing the way the music sounds), and graffiti (the visual element)?

  1. Masculine Expressivity in Hip Hop:

How are men portrayed in hip-hop? “The Thug/Gangsta” and “The Player”

Acting tough, taking up space, talking about how bad you are, talking about your possessions

Respect, social identity, and street code

The authenticity aspect of the artists (did you actually live what you are rapping about)

The sincerity of the artists (the topic is not fiction, but fiction for the artists)

What affect does this have on young men and society?

Stereotypes of African-American men

  1. Women in Hip Hop:

How are women portrayed in hip-hop?

The Categories of Women in Hip Hop

  1. Queen Mother example Queen Latifah
  2. Fly Girl example Salt N Pepa
  3. Sista with Attitude example Lauryn Hill

Do women have a place in hip-hop?

Who are influential female rappers?

  1. The Art of Turntablism

The turntables have been around since the 1940s and 1950s

The term ‘turntablism’ was created in the 1990s

DJ’s began to scratch the records back and forth on the turntable creating a scratching noise

The role and evolution of the Disk Jockey or DJ (play records on the turntable, mixing in one track after the other)

  1. The Evolution of Technology of Hip Hop

Hip-hop music mainly consisted of recordings of block parties, but DJ Disco Wiz was the first hip-hop DJ to create a “mixed plate”

-The drumbeat is the backbone of hip-hop music

– With the use of electronic technology it evolves

– The use of layering sounds and beats

-The sound of hip-hop is distinct from other music genres

The technology that are known for producing hip-hop’s distinct sound:

-The turntable

-The synthesizer used for melody and basslines

-The drum machine offered a variety of drum sounds, and creating the bass sound in hip- hop

-The sampler (using an element of someone else’s song and making it in the artists own)

Recording in the studio (using a condenser microphone or dynamic microphone)

Cassette tapes, CDs, and Digital music (iTunes, Sound Cloud, Spotify, YouTube, and Pandora)

Conclusion

Sources:

http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/feature/the-art-of-turntablism/