Getting into Music: There has Never Been a Better Time

People have been enjoying music for thousands of years and making it for even longer. Throughout history, music has influenced the lives of countless numbers of people in a variety of ways. Similar to other mediums, such as visual art, music has evolved greatly since its inception. Starting as simple singing paired with primitive instruments such as flutes made from wood or bone, music has developed into its own massive industry. In 2019, the recorded music industry made over 21.5 billion dollars.

PBS Frontline traces the origins of the recorded music industry back to the beginning of recorded sounds in the late 1870, when Thomas Edison invented the phonograph. Over the next several decades this machine was greatly improved upon and audio recordings became much easier to make and listen to. This new audio capturing technology quickly led to the recording of music, which, like most things in the United States, was immediately monetized.

The twentieth century brought substantial change to the recorded music industry. From vinyl and cassettes, to CDs and MP3s, the industry’s recording method of choice never stays the same for long. However, by the early twenty-first century, digital recording had become mainstream and more popular than CDs. Since then, streaming and digital recordings have begun to control the industry with their incredible ease of use, great sound quality, and extensive library of songs.

Many of the recent changes to the industry have made it easier than ever to get into music. A huge library of songs is available for free on most electronic devices through services like Spotify, Google Play, and Pandora. Although services like this have made music cheaper and more accessible, it can still be overwhelming and challenging to know where to start.

This overwhelming feeling can be heightened by others’ familiarity with music. Most have at least some experiences with music and at least some idea of what they like, which can make those who lack experience as if they are just too far behind. People can feel as though they cannot catch up, and therefore, they do not try – putting them even farther behind. Even though it can be overwhelming, there has never been a better time for an outsider to get into music.

 I was in this situation recently, and the thought of learning about music was daunting. After encouragement from a friend, I took some time and created a Spotify account. Since then, I have been trying new music and listening to music constantly. 

This did take time and effort, but not as much as I thought it would. This is because these services take most of the burden off of the user. For example, Spotify will generate playlists with songs you have already shown you like, and new songs that are similar. This takes a lot of the random searching out of the process, and therefore, considerably speeds up the process of finding music you will like.

However, it does take some effort to get into music. Listening to different genres and trying to figure out what sounds the best to one can take some time and dedication but not as much as some people might think. Knowledge of the current popular artists and trends is not needed to enjoy music. Even just browsing a music streaming service and playing songs that seem interesting or that are suggested to you is a valid way to enjoy the medium.

Recent changes in music have made it easier than ever to get into music. Although it can seem daunting, with just a little bit of effort, time, and patience, people can begin listening to new music. With the breadth of most music libraries nowadays, there has never been a better time to start listening.