Ongoing History: When it comes to music vs. tech, tech almost always win (part 1)

There is no stopping progress. You either get on board with new technology or get out of the way, something the world of music has learned the hard way. Whenever a new technology could have an impact on music, there’s always resistance.

Take, for example, John Philip Sousa, the American composer of marching music who was a superstar at the turn of the 20th century. He was absolutely appalled at the new machines that could capture and store music for all time. He thought that this was an outrage to all musicians and that the codification of music in a recording would lead to moral and social decay. He even wrote an essay in 1906 entitled “The Menace of Mechanical Music.”

I quote: I foresee a marked deterioration in American music and musical taste, an interruption in the musical development of the country, and a host of other injuries to music in its artistic manifestations, by virtue — or rather by vice — of the multiplication of the various music-reproducing machines.”

He was wrong, of course. More next time.

© 2023 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

You May Also Like

Top Stories