This page largely superseded by some of the writing on TechnologyAndMusic.

But perhaps that should be moved back here.

This would be the TechnologicalDeterminist theory of pop music, ReadWith Noise,

Late 19th century PlayerPianos Ragtime
Early 20th century MechanicalRecording Jazz
Mid 20th century Better quality recording, better microphones Cool jazz, crooners
Mid 20th century Electric guitar Rock'n'roll
Late-mid 20th century (the 60s) More amplification, 4-track recording, early synthesizers Rock, psychadelic rock
Early-late 20th century (the 70s) more synths, cheaper recording studios Diversifying, experimental rock
Mid-late-20th century (late 70s) Cheaper recording studios and record manufacture, smaller and more portable amplification Punk/ New Wave
Mid-late-20th century (late 70s) Recording studios and technology cheap enough for the post-colonial world Dub reggae
Mid-late-20th century (late 70s) Twin-turntable and mixer with cross-fade Disco
Mid-late-20th century (late 70s, early 80s) Very cheap synthesizers and (especially) drum-machines post-punk, new wave, early 80s synth-pop
Mid-late-20th century (late 70s, early 80s) Direct-drive turntables to allow scratching Early hip-hop
Late-late-20th century (mid-late 80s) Sampling, cheaper synths and drum-machines, cheap PCs as sequencers, cheaper turntables and mixers House, Techno
Late-late-20th century (mid-late 80s)Early analogue synths (like TB303 bassline) become available on second-hand market Acid House
Even later 20th century (late-80s, early 90s) Home-computer sampler / sequencers (Atari and Amiga) "cut-up" dance made with samples, Rave
Late-late 20th century pitch-shifting software becomes available on home computers, allowing pitch and duration of music to be varied independently of each other Jungle, D'n'B
Late-late 20th century software models of analogues synthesizers and effects become available on home computers Trance
Early 21st century autotune, forment filtering, "liquid audio" various AutoCroon vocal processing styles, glitch

... apparently, by end of the 90s, musical-production technology seems to stop evolving, and so does the sound. Great music is still being produced, but sounds remarkably like genres that existed 10, 20 or 30 years earlier.

But technology is about to start shaking up the distribution and consumption of music dramatically ...

See also :

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