What to read on the weekend – a habrasserial about the history of audio technology and the music industry

3 min

We will tell you how approaches to assessing listeners’ preferences, the home ecosystem of sound and associated musical gadgets from various historical periods have evolved.

What to listen to on the weekend: a Russian-language podcast about home theaters, an audiomaniac’s wishlist, and a sound shop

Photo Crew / Unsplash

The music industry can no longer be called a “closed club” where only “enlightened” experts are trying to get and work. We discuss how the hierarchy and division into professions looked like, who was the largest customer of music and “rock stars” of the past. The main thing is when and why the old way of life began to change, how critics and the media influenced it.

The second series is about how the world of music emerged from the influence of the “old school” order spread by the cultural elites of the past. Here we are talking about “musical influencers”, a revolution in academic music and regulation of public taste. Technology has become a key driver of tectonic shifts. Let’s figure out which ones.

We continue to delve into the historical context – this time we are looking at the effect of television, its influence on the concept of music albums, videos and the phenomenon of mass popularity. Here we get to the era of streaming platforms and try to understand what role metrics, algorithms play in the world of music, and whether they leave room for “live” curators of playlists.

Photo Lex aliviado / Unsplash

In the context of general self-isolation, we wrote another habraserial about how home audio evolved. We began this story from the 17th century. Then, in order to listen to music, I often had to sit down at the instrument myself. Then mechanical “self-play” and gadgets for home music were invented – we are discussing which ones.

Technological innovations have become the main factor in this process. At the end of the 19th century, the phonograph was developed, which relatively quickly ceased to be the lot of the rich and became accessible to the middle class. Later, the concept of a phonograph with a disc was brought to the format of a new device – a gramophone, and literally ten years later the radio revolution began. So, mainly entertainment music came to almost every home and became really popular.

You can’t just go and miss the history of vinyl records and turntables. Let us explain how they went from the first concept to the mass market, from the proliferation of LPs and singles to the “war of speeds” and the modern surge of interest in vinyl music.

Photo Markus spiske / Unsplash

The acoustic ecosystem in human homes has undergone significant changes since the war and the technological breakthrough that accompanied it. So, there was a magnetic sound recording, a telegraph, reel speakers and electrodynamic loudspeakers. We discuss the history of all these inventions and their impact on the way the post-war generation listened to music at home.

This is one of the most popular materials from our habraserial. We talked about the emergence of new formats, the era of “concept albums” and “new sound” – gave examples of such music from the 1960s. They also discussed how the new bookshelf speakers and audio amplifiers launched the “race to power” and examined other nuances of the explosive development of audio technology in the “golden era”.

Additional materials:

How the digital revolution has made musicians poorer
How to make a living as a musician
Glitter and poverty: money in the world of music
Does the “pay what you want” model work?


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