Is technology harming classical music? –

technology and classical music

Freedom is the real issue. Is the role of technology to open us to new possibilities or is it, as more and more in Silicon Valley are trying to do, to enmesh us in an environment envisioned by Apple or Google? Already iTunes has forced classical music into a pop straitjacket, whether by an infrastructure that recognizes music as consisting only of songs, or through its severely constricted audio.

The latest villain on the scene is Spotify, the Swedish music-streaming service that has just reached the U.S. and theoretically puts an enormous variety of music at your fingertips. But Brian Brandt, whose Mode Records specializes in experimental composers, recently wrote on the website New Music Box that Spotify seems poised to drive him and other small labels out of business, because its model supports only pop bestsellers. Mode simply can't survive on a payment of one-third of a cent per stream. Nor will you likely learn much new from a service like Pandora, which is programmed to find more music like that which you already know.

via Classical music and technology -

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8 comments for “Is technology harming classical music? –

  1. February 5, 2012 at

    Hi David,

    Although I worry about this particular instance concerning spotify’s attempt at monopolization, vendors such as iTunes, cdbaby, and so on have dramatically changed dissemination of classical music easier. Though pop-ifying a classical album on itunes may not seem such a great thing in comparison with a hard copy (which has a booklet, a nice cover, etc), now one can afford to produce an album at almost half the cost if they choose online distribution only. Though I have only purchased digital downloads of classical music on two occasions (I like CDs), the simplicity of the whole affair is astounding.


    • February 6, 2012 at

      HI Andrew- I’m addicted to instant download access to classical music (I use Amazon mp3, which stores all my Amazon music purchases in the cloud for free) But what would be even better would be ongoing streaming access to ANY of a whole library of recordings, in a fashion such as is done by Netflix with videos.

  2. December 31, 2011 at

    Has science and technology harmed people,animals and nature or has it been beneficial?

    • January 1, 2012 at

      I think both; harmed and helped, same w classical music

  3. August 31, 2011 at

    Hello again Dave,
    No, this is Robin Tropper, the software guy who desperately craves doing some measure of (respectable level) oboe performance again!

    My only fear with internet social networking and mobility gadgets is that they tend to monopolize our time (like the boob-tube TV). But I have hope in something I have noticed, a term that was mentioned on the radio yesterday, “Facebook Fatigue” and what I want to call “Twitter Tired”: as with cable TV, after awhile there’s nothing new and exciting anymore!

    Hopefully, this means people can be inspired by what they’ve gathered on You-Tube and such and then go out in the real world and appreciate real performances!


  4. August 30, 2011 at

    The question of our generation, Dave!

    Despite my livelihood as a software engineer, I tend to say internet services and mobile apps do much more social harm than good by keeping us cooped-up in an artificial interaction mode rather than out with real people making music and enjoying live concerts (and same for every other aspect of life).

    But look at it another way. I’ve been noticing that North-America has very few oboe makers compared to Paris and Berlin… also, we only know the standard instruments whereas Spain and Romania have all varieties of folk instruments: modernized shawms (Tenora) and crosses between the sax and the clarinet (Taragot) to name only two.

    The reason for this lack of variety and comparatively slim culture over here is that, especially in Canada, music is simply not part of our daily routine. Unlike much of Europe, most of our fire halls and police precincts don’t have their own symphony orchestras! When applying for an IT job, we are not asked if we sing tenor or bass for the company choir! Perhaps social media can help awaken this natural thirst for culture which has been atrophied over here…. we can always hope!

    Social media has allowed at least three international communities of oboists to share and compare. Without Facebook and many other social networking I would not have even known of the existence of the huge variety of instrument types and makers whereas now I’m on a quest to find my ideal oboe and/or oboe d’amore.

    As with all technology, it is neither good or bad in itself: it’s how society uses it…. and I’m afraid that I still haven’t been disproven on my theory that people are sheep and just want to be (mis)lead by self-serving corporations.

    • August 30, 2011 at

      Hi Robin des hautbois. Is this Robin of Tony Costa clarinetist?

      I LOVE your comment. Thank you. And I think we agree that for the most part, technology is simply an extension of our own desires, not an influence on them.

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