The Internet and Music

TheInternet and Music

TheInternet and Music

Musicis one of the most amazing and intriguing product of culture. Allcultures across the world, at all stages of civilization areassociated with some form of music. Scholars have viewed music as acharacteristic of a culture and an expression of the depth of theculture. The universal function of music as a product of culture isentertainment. Music also acts as a means of transmitting culture byeducating the younger generation on different aspects of culture.Music also expresses the cultural heritage of a particular society.The definition, creation, importance and performance of music varydepending on the social and cultural context. Music can range fromhighly organized composition and performance to improvisationalmusic. The most important characteristic of music is the words inform of lyrics. Musical words have had far reaching effects on aculture or society, which includes rhetoric, participation andfantasy. For example, in the African culture, music as a product ofculture played an important role in the society. The lyrics in themusic were a source of elevating force to the members of the societyduring war and communal work. The lyrics also shaped the morality andpreserved the cultural heritage of the African culture (Peter, 2012).

Technologyand music in the modern society can not be separated. Music is oneproduct of culture that has been immensely affected by technology.Artists and music producers have incorporated several moderntechnologies in the recording, playback, storage, editing, performingand circulating music. One of the most important technologies hasbeen the use of computer based technologies in music. Theincorporation of technology in music has enabled the connectionbetween the musical creativity and technological creativity to makethe music more appealing and entertaining. Musicians and musicproducers in the modern world are striving to incorporate newtechnologies to create new forms of musical expression. This hascreated a new genre of music which characterize a social and culturalgeneration, for example, hip hop music in the modern generation.Computer based technologies and the internet has also been used to asa means of reaching more audience across the world (Peter, 2012).

Theinvention of the internet is arguably one of the most importanttechnological developments that have impacted on music as a productof culture. It is important to note that the internet has created arelatively homogeneous culture composed of the online community. Theinternet has evolved into a key pillar in the integration of theworld cultures. The internet has changed music in the modern worldthrough increased access and choices of music. While the conventionaleconomic model in the offline market, the demand and supply model, isbased on scarcity and choice, the online market is based onabundance. The increased choices and awareness among the online musicconsumers has created new social identities and listening tastesamong the consumers. The internet has also expanded the market nicheof music beyond a specific cultural setting (Peter, 2012).

Theinternet has also created platforms through which musicians canconnect with their fans and consumers of their music. The onlinesocial networking services such as Facebook and YouTube hasfacilitated the distribution of music in addition to creatingpopularity of music or musicians. Musicians have used the power ofthe internet to publish and promote their music. Internet applicationsuch as YouTube has also transformed the traditional role of musicconsumers where they can create as well as consumer music. Theinternet also enables instant connection between people in differentparts of the world. Through file sharing and marketing themselvesthrough the internet has created a tool through which musicians havebeen able to break into the new media market. The ability ofmusicians to sell their music through iTunes for example, has enabledthe music market to remain fresh and vibrant by providing a widerrange of music genre (Leyshon, 2005).

Whilemajority of people have focused on the positive impacts of theinternet on music as a product of culture, there are some negativeeffects. While some cultures have thrives due to the popularity oftheir music in the internet, other cultures have faded away as aresult of dominance by other cultures in the internet. This hasnegatively affected the cultural heritage of the less dominantcultures while creating new online cultures. The advent of programssuch as Torrents and Napster has also impacted negatively on musicand musicians (Waldfogel, 2010). Musicians and music producers relyon music as a source of income. These programs enable internet usersto download music from the internet for free. Music industry playersand economic analysts have argued that free downloads of musicnegatively impacts on the music industry. For example, rather thanbuying a CD worth 20 dollars which will go into the producer’s andmusician pocket, the consumer will download the music for free fromthe internet. In this case, the consumer will view the role ofinternet on music positively, while the producer and musician willview it negatively (Oberholzer-Gee &amp Strumpf, 2007).


Leyshon,A. (2005). On the reproduction of the musical economy after theInternet. Media, Culture &amp Society 27, 177–209.

Oberholzer-Gee,F. &amp Strumpf K. (2007). The Effect of File Sharing on RecordSales: An Empirical Analysis. Journal of Political Economy,115, 1-42.

Peter,T. (2012). Creativity and innovation in the music industry.New York: Springer

Waldfogel,J. (2010). Music files sharing and sales displacement in the iTunesera, Information Economics and Policy, 22, 306-314.