Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Music Technology and Format Timeline

New updated version is now available:

I'm putting together a presentation on business models in the music industry and I want to provide a background on relevant technology and music formats. Please comment or send me an email to anders at tbmdb dot com on things that you find missing.

// Anders


  1. This survey is decent from a consumer perspective. To paint the whole picture of how we've gotten to a open-source DIY music industry, maybe add a bit more the artist perspective. How about the role of computers, specifically computer recording software? Where's Logic Pro et. al? Certainly need to acknowledge the decentralization of production and distribution that personal computing opened up for artists and bands. Further, digital recording (e.g., ProTools) changed the way music sounded and what could be done in the studio in the early 90s. These technologies lowered costs and allowed more DIY artists to enter the market in the last 10 years. Finally, I see you have Napster and a few others, but probably speak to more of the websites that have been really important to artist MARKETING in the last 5 years: LastFm, MySpace, iLike, TuneCore. These sites are super important to support a business model where artists can thrive sans-labels.



  2. A very valid point!!
    Not only recording software but also the development of multi track recorders and home recording equipment.

    LastFM and MySpace are in the picture but perhaps I should add iLike and TuneCore.

    Many thanks!

  3. Hoi Anders
    An interesting time table. Useful. I also use the disembodiment of the piece of music from its carrier to show the changes in the music industry. The artist always wrote music that fitted to the available music medium. In times of no music recording the limiting factor was the time an orchestra could play so the usual piece was max. 75 min. With the record and particularly the single a new song format was developed the 2.30 min song with A and B sides. The LP offered twice 22.5 min. And the LP was a bundle of songs where the listener had no choice but to hear the whole LP. The CD was made for 74 min. And now with MP3 the disembodiment is perfect. No attachment and limitation from the carrier medium. It will be interesting to see the changes. Will we have longer songs? Will we have again 1h pieces like in the classical music?
    The disembodiment is a serious problem since quite a lot of the emotions of the music was attached to carrier medium like the LP cover. The cover transported the emotion. And today, a collection of MP3s on my hard disk has absolute no emotion attached and that is a serious problem for selling music. I used the music industry as a case in my last presentation on
    Best regards

  4. Thanks Patrick!
    Very interesting thoughts! The disembodiment can be seen as a serious problem but also an opportunity. And with the new technology new ways to interact between artists and fans can create very strong emotions attached to a all digital album. I believe Imogen Heap ( created a much stronger emotion attached to her music even before it was released than an LP cover could possibly carry.

    For readers not aware of Patrick's blog on business model innovation check out:

  5. I see the disembodiment neutral. Like in life, everything is a chance and risk. I am interested in the consequences of such a change. In music we see a trend towards concerts and gigs again. So the emotion come with a real world experience with live music. That is a trend that we already saw from the times when there was no recording media. Live music was the only music you could listen to, besides making your own music.