“It's a small world, but we all run in big circles.” Sasha Azevedo
In the early 18th century Great Britain was still agrarian. This meant that in England, a traveler from the North arriving in the South would find themselves in largely foreign territory. There were even time differences in durations of minutes between some counties. The Victorians however had a need for speed and with that the railway and the steam train arrived. The steam train made the Victorians limitless by comparison. Where they were local they were now national. Communication was stimulated as was connection. This is turn affected music with Victorians travelling from villages to towns to experience live music hall entertainment. Similarly it would also seem that our need for connection via the Internet has stimulated the live music sector today. There have been numerous reports to suggest that the sharing experience of music via the Internet has developed our live music appetites.
Is it a case of swings and roundabouts? Perhaps. In the Victorian era another technology was born. It enabled us to talk to each other across vast distances, it used code, new types of crime emerged from it, romances blossomed in chat rooms, businesses practices were flipped on their head and whilst the some sought to control the this brave new medium others predicted utopia and an evolved global consciousness. We are of course talking about the introduction of the telegraph. But doesn't it sound remarkably like our Internet? The point that I want you to remember is that there is no original thought. Everything has been created and everything we experience today is simply an improvement on that original wheel.
So is streaming music is old news? Well yes, it used to be called the "wireless" or as we now call it "radio". When radio arrived it was boycotted by the recorded music industry, after all who would buy records they could listen to the wireless for free? As it turned out the recorded music industry greatly benefited from the radio with the introduction of licences. Copyright as we now understand it was established. Radio gave music a wider reach, and a wider reach meant an expanding audience, and an expanding audience meant supersonic record sales. We had entered The Golden Age.
Beyond radio our next disruptive technology was TV. Radio lovers bemoaned the loss of the radio star. We know, however, that video didn't kill the radio star in fact video created another type of star and another type of experience with megastars such as Michael Jackson pushing the envelope of the medium with the multimillion dollar "Thriller". So now we have YouTube stars. Internet stars with billions of views on YouTube, reams of comments and millions of friends and followers. Internet stardom is a decisive factor in any artist obtaining a record deal or for a record label securing radio and TV airplay.
Let’s not forget the sheet music industry. The sheet music industry boycotted the recorded format. The argument was this, why would anyone buy sheet music if they could simply buy the record and listen to it. Nevertheless, the recorded format took over regardless. Today, people all over the world obtain tracks and make them their own. They put their own take on the original composition. We have mash ups, remixes, fan made video and presentations. Not unlike music fans back in the sheet music era who took their copy home and improvised with it to the delight of their audiences at home.
So what's next? Well our forthcoming technology in music is cloud storage. Cloud storage means that we can share out data and then access that data anywhere globally. Like water or electricity. This means that our music can be streamed from anywhere to well … anywhere. It might give us total mobility. A world without wires. A world where there is nothing to tie us down and we can be on the move with the information we need to share at the tap of our fingertips.
So, there have been a few technologies that have made progressively made the world smaller. The Internet is not the first and it won’t be the last.
Sometimes we need to reference from the past in order to learn and move on. There no problem that we have that hasn't been already solved on some level. So sometimes looking at the stories of the past can teach us about the future as we can see patterns and trends and attempt to plot a loose trajectory. No one can predict the future, but it is wise to plan for the best and prepare for the worst and consider every scenario possible and perhaps even make some future recommendations.