Digital Technology – An Analogue Among Other Things

Since its arrival, digital technology has had a profound effect on the way audiences and artists alike feel about music.

It has given rise to downloads, inexpensive home set ups and thus a vast plethora of new artists grasping – with ease, emulation technology mimicking hardware only found in a spacious gulf of few-and-far-between studios across the globe, comparative to how accessible it is to so many people nowadays, which although convenient, is definitely lacking in the ambience and warmth of analogue.

Back in t’day, maybe, twenty years ago the recording and therefore refining of music could only be accomplished within the bounds and shackles of a record deal. We now however find ourselves in a situation where every apple computer comes with a music processing tool of some kind i.e. Garageband, which is where many producers of the newly formed generation start.

Similarly, the sheer amount of music listened to would have only been reserved for the avid collector of vinyl, A-tracks and standing on the border between digital and something you can put in your hand, CDs.

However, existing outside the parameters of hard copies in tangible form enables common Stan to own days of music festering on their computer with an easy come easy go attitude of song flicking.

So, in essence digitalisation is good for the artist but it almost makes it too easy to listen to music, which it could be argued to be detrimental in the appreciation of the time and effort the artist may or may not have gone to.

Having said all that though, for the first time since the introduction of CDs, (and of course not forgetting the lovely sausage MP3 players which swept the early 2000s with all its 500Mb glory) vinyl sales are going up again which surely says that something within the avid listener has been stirred towards a more archaic and care taking format.

A similar correlation too can be found within creative circles, beckoning the old ivory towers of music production into the home set up with cheapo reel to reels blessing a logic project with a delightful, un-ignorable tape saturation.

Creatively, the process has changed as well. Watching a project go from silence, to a completely sellable product without the whisper of a practise room or the tear of a turning notebook page, it would seem the process has been turned on its head with the formulating of a live set up being churned around the recording, not the other way around which in theory does wonders in setting the bar higher as it gives the ability for an artist to spend as much time as is necessary to manifest their vision without complicating the process by having to cast ones mind astray to studio times.

Given into consideration the accessibility argument too, by sheer increase in volume of users the standard should also be raised; – in laymans terms, the more people doing something, the better chance you have of seeing something great come into fruition.

With the digital age then, we can – to a certain extent – abandon the question “I wonder how many Dylans or Hendrixs’ we’ve missed out on, who didn’t get a chance to record?” At least on the surface we can.

As it stands today any man and his dog can produce a semi-professional sounding recording with fair ease. The repercussions of this however, is there’s now infinitely more music out there recorded and ready to listen to online that sifting through it has become equally difficult for A&R as seeing gigs day in day out.

Getting noticed, it seems, is just as difficult as it always has been except now the bar has been taken to an immeasurably stratospheric altitude. All because of the birth of digital technology, artists have cut the corner between inspiration and mechanical recording, an avenue which was not foreseeable with analogue alone but, in partnership with digital technology makes for some of the best thought out electronic and live material to burst out onto the public plateo of consciousness. Perhaps most incredible of all, its being devised in people’s bedrooms.