In 1948 the world was introduced to the long play (LP), more commonly referred to as the vinyl record. Prior to vinyl records, recorded music was not easily accessible for the general public’s consumption. As technological advances progressed, buying and owning music recordings became increasingly easier; songs and albums could be bought and sold worldwide. The compact disc was then introduced leading to a boom in music sales, which climbed steadily for subsequent years.
Sean Parker introduced the idea of file sharing with Napster in 1999 which made music even more accessible than ever before. While you would think this wider accessibility would be positive, record companies and many artists reacted negatively to the notion that people could own recordings of their work without having to pay for it. Napster would eventually be shut down but its impact is still felt today in the numerous file-sharing services scattered across the Internet.
It is arguable that with the handy invention of smartphone music playlist applications like Songza or 8tracks, the necessity to compile our own mixtapes or playlists has disappeared. Songza allows for the easy discovery of new music with thousands of pre-made musical selections and compilations to suit our individual moods or activities.
These apps have so many different options for music and are constantly updating their repertoire; this is required with outrageous amounts of new music being created.
Despite all of the positive aspects of these apps, they are not perfect – you have a limit to the amount of songs you can skip – which depending on your playlist could mean a lot of forced listening to less preferred artists, and it requires the use of data, which doesn’t make it fully accessible to everybody. Will Songza and 8tracks become the future of how we listen to music, or will it become just another music app that we used to know?