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Musical Mutation

Musical Mutation

Roger Marroquin

 

“ The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you” B.B. KING

 

Over the years, many things have changed in the way music is produced, recorded and published. Thirty years ago, Latin American bands needed a record label to reach their objective of making a record, be distributed and promoted, but that obviously came with a price. In some way, they had to compromise their music style and adjust to the demands of the industry.

 

Almost every country had a local professional studio that would produce and record at higher costs that could only be afforded by a few bands, with no real chances for international distribution. Private music academies started to emerge, and smaller recording studios as well. The local scene was only that…local!

 

In the early 90’s a new enthusiastic generation of musicians was born, with no professional skills to perform but with an enormous desire to express themselves no matter what. It all developed at the same time as music stores,  musical instruments became easier to obtain and more venues were available to perform. The formula to experiment and create was the same as always, mainly garage bands exploring the different genres.

 

Technological advances played a very important role in music development. Computer software allows musicians to explore a new universe of possibilities, turning a homemade cassette recording into a track made with digital interfaces, and creating music file formats such as MP3, WAV, FLAC, etc.

Home studios were born including tools such as personal computers, midi interfaces, midi instruments and digital soundboards. These helped in a big way to improve home recording soundboards, this, in turn, helped improve home recordings sound quality, making better demos and manage without a paid conventional studio.

 

Subsequently, bands could independently complete the process of recording, mixing, mastering, burning discs, designing and print a disk cover, and start selling their material. With that advantage, the creative process was not compromised, giving more opportunity to explore and create new sub-genres. Then, small recording labels appeared, giving bands the opportunity to be promoted by playing in music festivals and increasing their crowd, becoming more sustainable.

 

By the late 90’s, the download era began with peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing in an MP3 format such as Napster, Kazaa, LimeWire and many others. People were sharing and downloading instead of buying compact discs. In a way, this helped emerging bands to spread and distribute their music. On the other hand, the big bands not getting any revenue and eventually,  these platforms were brought down due to copyright issues.

 

A new millennium started with new challenges, but the key is to adapt and evolve. Musicians were now leaving behind the dream of being signed by a major-label company, finding new strategies to survive and remain active. Launching their websites made them attractive and updated,  an effective platform to be exposed. The software industry also helped improve websites making them visually appealing and dynamic.

 

Soon, a revolution started with the arrival of social networking. One of the first was MySpace, which quickly became the world’s largest social network, providing bands with a way to reach 125 million users worldwide.

 

In late 2006, Universal Music Group sued Myspace for millions in damages for copyright infringement. This suit was settled in mid-2008 with the launch of MySpace Music, a site where users can listen to streaming songs from all sorts of an artist. Soon after, bands were attracted by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, allowing musicians to work with a higher level of autonomy.  There are now many options for music streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, APPLE Music, Pandora, SOUNDCLOUD, Tidal. The sky’s the limit, any band can now create their own Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter profile and be streamed in every platform available, get profits from it and be seen and heard worldwide.

 

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