They all die: Vinyls, cassets, CDs & the future of music

Jimmy Hendrix

Music in the 21st century – giving it back to the people

This blog is not just about who QPiTSM is. It is also about music and our thoughts on music. We reckon that we – the young people of the 21st century – are living in a time that historians will look back on and say “Dzaaam! that’s when ish changed for real!” (*clearly future historians would have been seriously influenced by Hip Hop*). But on a serious note, music will never be made, distributed or consumed in the same way after everything that’s happened in the past twenty years. We all know the impact of the internet on music sales and the phenomenon of the ipod and cell phones and how these have pretty much made CDs redundant. However, the marvelous thing about being between the ages of 18 and 30 is that not only did we see the “Music Revolution” happen but, since we were not really part of the previous culture of cassets and vinyls, you pretty much facilitated the change! Our generation are the leaders of the revolution, so to speak.

How is this any different from previous generations?

Throughout modern history people have often said that music is a universal language. While that may have been true to a certain extent, for the most part music in the 20th century was divided between those who listen and those who talk. That’s not really much of a language now is it? However, all the changes in technology since the disco era (when it first became possible for music to be made electronically) have slowly been bringing us to a time when we can all talk through music. Everywhere you look these days (if you are a person who looks out for music) you’ll see evidence of people discovering their voice. Because of the accessibility of software such as FL Studio everyone can easily tap into their creative side. Back in the day, the best you could do is sing along with the radio. Today you can make your own rendition of your favourite song.

Of course not everyone is excited by this blurring of the line between the musician and the listener. There are very clear implications for the quality of music (remember how crunk made Nas so upset he said “Hip Hop is dead”?). There are also very serious financial implications for musicians if everyone makes music will anyone still buy music? Even so however, we cannot stop the Music Revolution. It is happening whether we are aware of it or not. What artists need to do is to prepare themselves for it. With this blog, we aim to start talking, as the young people of the 21st century, and from this talking we can map out what we want to do with our gift of music. In the weeks that follow we will publish articles and short notes, by both artists and fans, about the future of music. Here are some of our topics for the coming weeks:

  • Should artists still expect to sell CDs or is the era of artist-millionaires coming to an end?
  • What’s with all the weird sounds on Kanye West’s Yeezus?
  • What did Nas mean when he said Hip Hop is dead?
  • Is Nikki Minaj really bad for the portrayal of women in the media?
  • What claim do African youths have to Hip Hop and American culture?

Enjoy your week



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