Tradition kills music technology – kinda

Have you noticed how technology in music doesn’t really advance? Or if it does, it basically follows the one step forward and two steps back pattern. People are chasing that perfect Stradivarius, the 60 years old Fenders and Gibsons, and the old synths of the seventies. Why?

Music technology – where old is better

music technology - steampunk les paulWe want to sound like those guys back then, because we still remember those times. And we remember not only by accident or our own sweet memories. We are being forced to remember. For the companies, making the old stuff requires less effort than having to constantly come up with something new, but it results in just as much profit. So we are taught that retro is king. You surely know some of those annoying bastards who try to lecture you about the old ages when everything was better. As well as the brand fanatics who will argue forever about how their beloved company is superior to anyone else who tried to sell a new invention in the past 30 years. Or make that 40. This craze is not only about instruments. The old school disease has infected music production as well. That’s why we dream of the big mixing consoles larger than a car, the heavy and hissy tape machines, all the expensive, analog outboard gear. Part of it is the above mentioned nostalgia. People want to re-live their past, it’s natural. We just forget how we do it today.

Want the old, can’t live without the new

That’s where the twist is; because new(er) technology actually comes into play. And it’s got a major role that goes almost unnoticed. We listen to the old stuff through digital players, computers, modern speakers and headphones. Most people don’t realize that they get an improved, cleaner and more accurate sonic experience than they ever did in the past. And this little “exception” is not only on the listening side of the coin. Modern technology allows us to make perfectly good sounding recordings at home, something that wasn’t possible even 25 years ago. At least not at this price and certainly not this quality.

Get out of the loop

So if you add that stuff together, you get kind of a mixed state of old and new. Something that’s not unlike the well known steampunk shit. Except it’s reality. This marketing strategy was around for decades, but it got really perfected in the 2000s. While internet is a big cornerstone in technology, it helped spreading the disease as well. Unfortunately, with all the people growing up during these years and being influenced by the above crap, music itself took a similar turn, too. How to fight it, or how to get out of this endless time-machine loop? Simple. Embrace new music technology, and support it any way you can. And while being influenced by the older music is not only natural but downright necessary as well, dare to be original. Take inspiration from the past, but use it for creating your own, completely new ideas.

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