Dissertation – general ideas

‘The creating and consuming of music in the digital age’

This is the basic idea of what I will be researching for my third year dissertation.  I am still interested in understanding the impact technology has had on the world of music, with the internet being an important factor.  It is something that we all use today and has completely revolutionised the way in which people share and consume music.  It is an area that is constantly changing and expanding into new territories and it is because of its importance in music today that I have chosen to study this topic.

I agree with the conclusions I reached in my dissertation literature review but they are not detailed or precise enough.  I will need to expand on my ideas and also give strong alternative arguments against them to make it a reasonable and accurate discussion.  This will come when I start researching this topic properly in the third year.   The dissertation literature review was extremely useful in teaching me what other musicians, philosophers and other writers thought on the topic and it gave me an excellent starting point which I can now work from.

Questions I am trying to answer include:

  • Have new technologies and the internet made artists do more or do less?
  • Have new technologies been positive or negative for the music business?
  • Do people rely on technology too much these days?

These are all relevant in questions in the study of music in 2014. The possibilities now available when creating, sharing and selling music are at an extremely advanced stage and there are no signs of it slowing down.  It seems as though everyday there is something new happening in music technology.  In 2014, we are far enough through the digital age to be able to analyse what has happened, what is happening and what will happen next.  It is important for musicians and those who work in the music business to slow down and take a look at what is going on around them and if it is benefiting them.  If not, then they must think about how they can make a change.  These questions will provide me with plenty of possible directions to take my dissertation.

I am not currently reading any books but now the term has started again and I can access the library I am going to make sure I read more books more regularly.  Over the summer I have however been looking at a lot of debates over the use of auto tune and how it has affected the ‘realness’ of music.  This is something that may be useful for me to look at in more depth as it is a clear example of the way technology has impacted music and it would be a great topic for me to apply to my three questions.  Some people will say it has had a negative impact on music while others are not too bothered either way.  It is my aim to understand why people react to it in the way they do.

I plan to structure this essay in the form of a two sided argument.  I will break up the piece of writing into main categories first, and then talk about different topics within that category.  So, categories may include music editing software, downloading and streaming services, social media and portable devices.

So, in the category of music editing software, I may include a discussion on Pro Tools for example, and give the positive aspects and negative aspects of its presence in the music world.  Perhaps it has made recording and mixing music easier, but what are the consequences?  Has it made artists and producers lazier?  Has it made all music sound too similar and perfect?  I will ask questions like this and attempt to offer both sides to the argument fairly.  I am hoping this technique will give me a clear, educated conclusion by the time I finish this dissertation.



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