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Technological advancements made in music

music Updated: Jun 21, 2013 12:57 IST
Samarth Goyal
Samarth Goyal
Hindustan Times
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Celebrated every year on June 21, World Music Day was conceptualised to encourage people to play and share music world over. While the concept first emerged in the US in 1976, it was officially adopted by France as Fête de la Musique (World Music Day) in 1982.

Music has come a long way since then, thanks to the ever-changing technology. From the old vinyl records of KL Sehgal and The Doors, to the cassette generation eagerly waiting to buy the album of Alisha Chinai or Michael Jackson, and from the audio CD generation of Beyonce and Shankar Ehsaan Loy to the online world of Honey Singh, Psy, The Harlem Shake and so on — music has continuously evolved with every passing generation. Here’s a look at the evolution of technology in music.


Also known as phonograph, it was the first ever personalised 'music system' that came into existence in 1877. From then to 1960s gramophone was the only source of playing back pre-recorded music. The old vinyl records of KL Sehgal, SD Burman, Boney M and all other major names in the music industry around the world made most of their money with the sales of gramophone records.

The Virtual World

With the dawn of the 21st century, when accessing the internet became easier, the source of storing and playing music got completely transferred to the virtual world, where one could create, share, download and store music, virtually. Many critics marked this as the end of the cassette industry. The launch of You Tube in 2005, an online video sharing website, saw a number of online music channels like Myspace, SoundTree, Spotify and ReverbNation, among others, come up. It helped the listener get access to exactly the kind of music he wanted.

MP3 Players

In 1998, just before the new millennium started, the idea of inventing a musical device that could store more songs and also help an individual to store songs of his choice led to the invention of portable media players, more popularly known as mp3 players/ipods. The idea worked on storing music in digital format on a hard drive, which has the capability to play back the song. In 2001, the launch of the first ipod made sure that analog music sources like Walkman were out of the market.

Compact disc (CD)

1983 was the year when the first CD player was launched. The year, also known as the big bang year for introducing music in the digital age, gave tough competition to the cassette industry. However, with time, CDs outshone the cassette industry due to the quality of audio, and artists such as Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy, AR Rahman, Beyonce and Enrique Iglesias, all earned majority of their income from the sale of CDs.


Working on a reel-to-reel format, the concept of recording music on tapes came into existence during the early 1960s. Since they were cheap and smaller in size compared to vinyl records, the cassette market dominated the music industry till 2008. From RD Burman and Lata Mangeshkar to Queen, Michael Jackson and Madonna, all artists sold their music on cassettes.

Revolution so far...

Subir Malik
Keyboardist, Parikrama
I remember when we started in 1992, the audience only wanted us to cover songs. In fact, that’s how we started, covering bands like ACDC, Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin. But times have changed now, the audience today wants us to compose our own songs.

Mahesh Tinaikar
Guitarist, Indus Creed
We have noticed a whole new generation of listeners, who heard of us through their parents or by just reading about us online. They have even sourced out our older stuff and are digging that too. So, I really think it is the music that appeals finally, not just the hype.

Lalit Pandit
Music Director
The basic nature of music has changed in my opinion. I think the old melodious soulful music has given way to a more pacier, adrenaline rush sort of music and I think that’s what the listeners today want to hear. The role of technology has played a big role in that direction.