Music has always meant something more than its chords and beats to humanity.

It has an ineffable presence in culture that changes people, helps them study better, and creates subcultures instantaneously.

Find out a few of the past and current unconventional ways that tech has changed this powerful force in our lives.

Peer-to-Peer Sharing

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Via Flickr by
Ed Yourdon
Thanks to Shawn Fanning who founded Napster, the music industry had to face peer-to-peer file sharing capabilities face-on. Though Napster lost the battle, music fans are winning the war. This has changed and improved music because most songs are now equalized by fans for optimal quality, shared and re-mixed by music lovers to create new beats, and reviewed by those who can’t afford CDs. Financially, peer-to-peer has strained the industry and put artists in defensive positions about profit losses.

Music will never be kept in a sleek clear case again. Now it lives on every device imaginable and can be modified by any listener, anywhere.

Last.fm Created Social Streaming

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Via Flickr by
Woordenaar

Social streaming has become so big that people are sharing Pandora playlist secrets, spending real money on imaginary laptop stickers for Turntable.fm, and streaming comedians from their cars. Social streaming has made it easier for fans of odd-ball genres to meet one another and share beats, as well as for artists to reach niche segments of the population. Best of all, streaming is free with a few ads: in exchange for short advertisements for McRibs and cars people can listen to any artist, anytime. For those on a tight budget this is a huge taboo!

While the battle between online stations is waging still, many fans have chosen their own radio site by now. Whether you like imaginary DJ stickers or cutsie avatars, you probably love social streaming itself.

Overnight Shooting Stars

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Via Flickr by
I Should Be Folding Laundry

Thanks largely to reality programs like American Idol, X Factor and similar TV shows, shooting stars streak through music clouds overnight, creating a buzz before their tail fades from the night’s sky. Before technology was ready for this sort of instant stardom, pop sensations fizzled before their first CDs could be cut.

Remember Star Search celebrities? No? That’s probably because before they could cut an album to be accessible to fans they were forgotten by fickle audiences. While there are one or two exceptions, thousands of would-be Star Search stars from the olden days never got a real chance because there weren’t instant iTunes MP3s.

Futuristic Photosounder-to-Photoshop

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Via Photosounder.com

Many musicians and music education majors are already experimenting with the revolutionary Photosounder. For anyone not in the know, the Photosounder creates a composition based on an image’s
light and dark intensity. These sonic representations of images are haunting, accurate, and inspiring for musically gifted people.

People took the Photosounder a step farther and started interfacing with Photoshop filters. John Keston of Audio Cookbook inspired Photosounder’s owners to make the renderings of sound more clearly defined so that Photoshop could easily filter these drawings, and was gratified to find Photosounder communication with Photoshop made easy for him and other composers.

Whether you dream simply of hassle-free music purchases via tablets or if you dream-big and hope to hear what a drawing of your face would sound like, music technology is ready. Discover all of the ways technology is changing and
revolutionizing music today.