sábado, 18 de mayo de 2019

The effects of broadband in music

In recent years, broadband has become an essential tool to transmit data from one place to another. Multiple disciplines have been positively affected by this phenomenon. One example is music industry, which has suffered the consequences of the constant progresses in information and communication technologies (ICT) and Broadband Society. These progresses have been included in all the phases: from the production of the music to the distribution of these contents. We analyze it with Roger Argemí Tutusaus, from UPF.
Regarding to the creation of the songs, the situation has significantly improved since the last century. Editorial companies are the ones in which the authors write songs after the major labels request them hits for their artists. The work of editorial companies is to manage the author rights, strongly associated to the intellectual property and copyright. When authors write songs, they create from different places in the world at the same time. This requires a good connection to the Internet, in order to share large files and to have them mixed and mastered before the deadline. In fact, files are usually uploaded in a WAV format, which means a lot of storage.

In my case, sound files between 400 MB and 1 GB are sent from my computer to Valencia, where my producer works from. In the meantime, another songwriter must be working in the lyrics, usually from the United Kingdom or Sweden. Despite living in one of the most popular streets in Igualada (Barcelona), fiber optics is not available at home. This complicates the song writing process, because it’s difficult to get the work finished before the deadline. It takes up to 5 hours to upload files, using sites such as Wetransfer, Dropbox or Google Drive. This doesn’t match with the official information of the Ministry. Its website, updated in 2017, indicates that FTTH, for example, has a range of coverage between 90% and 100%.
A few years ago, the connection gave people the chances to download MP3 songs. In late 90’s, it took approximately 15 minutes to download a song. Now, with the help of broadband, there’s no need to wait more than a few seconds. With the help of fiber optics, which have been installed in lots of towns, it’s possible to achieve connections near 1GB, ten times faster than the ADSL. For example, with the “Fiber To The” technologies - and one of them is “Fiber To The Home” -, it’s possible to reach a symmetric broadband of 2GB in our homes. It’s also important to distinguish between symmetric and asymmetric fiber optics. While the first one can achieve the same velocity in the upload and in the download, in the second one the download is faster than the upload. All this services are usually included in a unique bill, which usually includes Internet fixed and mobile, television, telephony fixed and mobile (quintuple play).
Therefore, with all these implements, it’s easier for authors from different places to write music together at the same time, without wasting time when files are sent. The process is also faster when editorial contracts must be signed by all the people involved in the writing process (producer, lyricist, musician…). A few years ago, these documents had to be sent by regular mail, and the companies could spend days and weeks to get them signed. Now the situation has changed, with the help of digital signatures, too. We must consider the different time zones, because the documents must be at the right time in a concrete time zone if you want your song to be accepted. Due to the recent popularity of K-pop bands, editorials like Peer Music are focused on entering into the Asian market. The recent fiber optics surpass has been crucial in terms of speed and convenience of the editorial process.
Talking about how people listen to music, habits have changed, and broadband plays a basic role, too. It’s important to know that “record labels are leaving to have this privileged position and control in theprocess of musical creation have been enjoying in recent decades”. Digital platforms such as Spotify, iTunes, Deezer, Amazon or YouTube have allowed people to listen to music in a different way, with an extensive variety of songs and, of course, “breaking the homogeneity of tastes that existed in the past” (Fondevila Gascón, García-Navas).
In fact, the fast development of broadband connections and the MP3 player updated musical e-commerce. Then, we can say that ICT updated music industry. As the Walkman updated the cassette tape, and the CD changed the way we listened to music. In summary, “the digital development(especially broadband and the Internet on our phones) has become a solution inmusic industry, providing a new business model” (Arango, 2016). This model benefits from the tickets of live concerts, where the companies mainly earn the money from, but also from streaming and purchases in the different digital platforms. Moreover, new technologies are letting the consumer choose the song he likes, without the necessity of buying an entire album.
When you listen to music, it’s important to check the speed of your Internet connection, to avoid buffering and pauses. Supposing you have broadband, the speed should cause no problems. However, there are different types of broadband (wireless, mobile, satellite, fibre, xDSL, BPL…), and they are different depending on the place and geographical area. Wireless connections, for example, are worse than wired connections directly united to the router. Sometimes it’s difficult to stream high-quality audios, because they need more data to be played without any problems. The speed also can vary depending on the platform you are listening to music from. If you are just listening to music, you won’t need special requirements. Nevertheless, if you stream audio from audio-visual platforms like Vimeo or YouTube (which also include images and video), you’ll need a broadband speed of at least 1.5 Mbps.
Broadband is a guarantee of music talents and variety. Some of the most famous artists of the XXI century have been discovered through the Internet, probably thanks to broadband. At the same time, new artists with no major label or a big investment can be discovered through platforms like Spotify or YouTube. In fact, all the process can be done through broadband. Social media allows the connection between musicians and the beginning of new collaborations. One of the most famous cases in the world was 10 years ago, when a 13 years old’ Justin Bieber was discovered by Usher through YouTube. Thanks to the Internet, one of the most successful music careers of the recent years began. In the case of Spain, a similar situation occurred in 2010 when a major label heard Pablo Alborán playing a guitar and singing his own songs on asofa.
On the other hand, some independent artists have become famous first through the Internet. C. Tangana had a relevant success a few years ago, rapping and uploading his songs. In 2017, thanks to his achievements, Sony Music Entertainment and Antón Álvarez (C. Tangana’s real name) signed “the most expensive contract of the music industry in Spain”.
Therefore, broadband and the Internet are essential to develop a music career. Obviously, when music talents are discovered, and when songs are written at the same with people all over the world. However, it’s also important for the final consumer of the music. Digital platforms like Spotify and iTunes have millions of songs available, and they are becoming little by little the antidote of piracy. Broadband is what music needs to expand culture and break all the walls in a more ecological world.


We analyze broadband evolution attending different sectors (here, the music case) in this blog, in Research Group about Digital Journalism and Marketing and Broadband and in Research Group on Innovative Monetization Systems of Digital Journalism, Marketing and Tourism (SIMPED), from CECABLE,  Escola Universitària Mediterrani of UdGUPF and Blanquerna-URL, in Twitter (@CECABLEresearch), Google+, in the group of LinkedIn, in the page of LinkedIn, in the group of Facebook, in Instagram (CECABLE), in Pinterest and in this blog. We will go in deep in the XXV Cable and Broadband Catalonia Congress (31 March-1 April 2020, Barcelona).

11 comentarios:

  1. Artículo muy interesante sobre un aspecto fundamental para la música: la banda ancha.

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  2. Crec que es un article molt interessant! a traves d’aquest ens podem donar compte de que cada vegada la fibra optica s’esta tornant en un element molt important a l’hora de compartir documents i navegar per internet

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