The Relation Between Music Technology and Music Industry

  • Alexander LerchEmail author
Part of the Springer Handbooks book series (SHB)


The music industry has changed drastically over the last century and most of its changes and transformations have been technology-driven. Music technology – encompassing musical instruments, sound generators, studio equipment and software, perceptual audio coding algorithms, and reproduction software and devices – has shaped the way music is produced, performed, distributed, and consumed. The evolution of music technology enabled studios and hobbyist producers to produce music at a technical quality unthinkable decades ago and have affordable access to new effects as well as production techniques. Artists explore nontraditional ways of sound generation and sound modification to create previously unheard effects, soundscapes, or even to conceive new musical styles. The consumer has immediate access to a vast diversity of songs and styles and is able to listen to individualized playlists virtually everywhere and at any time. The most disruptive technological innovations during the past 130 years have probably been:
  1. 1.

    The possibility to record and distribute recordings on a large scale through the gramophone.

  2. 2.

    The introduction of vinyl disks enabling high-quality sound reproduction.

  1. 3.

    The compact cassette enabling individualized playlists, music sharing with friends and mobile listening.

  2. 4.

    Digital audio technology enabling high quality professional-grade studio equipment at low prices.

  3. 5.

    Perceptual audio coding in combination with online distribution, streaming, and file sharing.


This text will describe these technological innovations and their impact on artists, engineers, and listeners.


compact disc


digital audio workstation


digital rights management


new interfaces for musical expression


super audio CD


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Music TechnologyGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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