Technology has changed music culture in its entirety, from how you purchase music, how you listen to music and how you find out about music. These are the obvious things that digital technology has had an effect on, however, another thing that the rise of technology has developed is music genres. Technology has heavily affected how certain genres sound – sometimes completely changing the style to a seemingly new genre all together.
Before advanced technology became the norm in every household, the approach to music was very different, in terms of production, distribution and the overall sound within a specific genre. It was much more difficult back then to produce a beat, as modern music has a lot of editing softwares such as Logic, FLStudios or Audio Tool in order to construct a beat a computerised way. Although most of these music softwares require a payment (like everything else these days), they allow the user to create beats to their hearts content with drum, guitar, piano and any other sound samples already built in to the software, which can be downloaded straight onto your computer with the click of a button. Although the software and the compiling of multiple sounds to resemble some form of structured beat can seem difficult, you can effectively make a simple hip-hop beat through a plethora of YouTube tutorials and videos showing you exactly what to do. Given this fact, it has allowed many more people like you and I to enter the music scene with a few one-minute long drum beats on SoundCloud, accumulating a total of 10 views after posting it on your Twitter and Facebook for your close friends and family to see. Although you won’t make any money from this, at least you can have the satisfaction of saying you created a song, which is something you wouldn’t have been able to say if it wasn’t for technology! Back then, most vocalists played instruments along with their singing in order to produce the whole song with a backing track. However, due to these softwares, if you can sing, you can get instrument sample packs and make it yourself (although that tactic might not work if you ever get the chance to perform live). Even if you do play instruments, a whole band would not be required as you can record each instrument separately in order to create a beat. Another method for this is a loop pedal, this allows you to record a sound on a continuous loop in order to create a beat, as you can keep adding different instruments to it until you’re happy with the how it sounds. Since most of these music softwares cost money, they act as a whole, portable music studio. Before, a music studio would contain a whole range of equipment that would cost thousands and thousands of pounds! Now, on your laptop, you can get the whole music studio in your bedroom for less than £100! Of course, professional producers still have huge music studios with expensive equipment filling up every corner. But, at least with this new method it makes music very more accessible to anyone that wanted to get involved. Whether it be making beats to share with people, doing it in private just for fun or even to try and make a career out of it, the programmes you need to staHrt this are all online, so get producing!
Hip-Hop as a genre has evolved through technology into multiple sub-genres. This is mainly due to technology allowing autotune to modify a person’s voice on the computer. Auto tune was first used to correct a singer’s voice and make them sound better in the final production. Hip-Hop artists on the other hand have used autotune for a completely different approach, they have used it to ultimately make their voices sound robotic and computerised, which birthed the hip-hop sub-genres mumble rap and trap. These sub-genres have become a culture of their own and has a mass, mainstream audience and artists within this genre tend to have millions of followers on social media. Technology has allowed these sub-genres to become popular as hip-hop used to have a heavy focus on clever lyricism, good flow or a storytelling aspect to the song. However, due to the more computerised style, the demographic of these sub-genres tends to focus on the beat production as the lyricism is stereotypically simplistic and repetition of the same phrases are used. Mumble rap specifically also contains inaudible lyrics which cannot even be understood (hence the name of the sub-genre being mumble rap) due to the multiple effects put on the artists voice to create new sounds. The popularity of this form of hip-hop can be shown through YouTube as mumble rap dominates the YouTube home page and Lil Pump – Gucci Gang has reached 1 billion views, showing the influence technology can really have on a music career.