Millennials: The Musical Revolutionaries

Although the perception of the word “millennial” may seem like a derogatory term, in terms of the way we consume music in today’s world, we should possibly be considered as the musical revolutionaries.

There has been more tech advancement in general (especially with the respect to music and how we consume it) in the last 20 years than there has been in all of history combined. The 20 years that have passed since we were kids was, the terms of advancement, was longer than 40 years since the “old heads” were kids.

In fact, before Thomas Edison invented the phonograph (record player) in 1877, the only way you heard music at all, was if someone was literally playing an instrument in your presence. Thus the vinyl record was eventually born in 1948 by Columbia Records. And that’s how music was recorded and listened to until compact cassette’s (cassette tapes) were introduced. According to Wikipedia, cassette tapes were released by Philips in 1962, having been developed in Hasselt, Belgium.

Cassettes were basically the first “mobile” means of enjoying music. But, let’s be honest, you could still only have one album per tape. Then in 1982, the compact disc (CD) was introduced. Discussions to initiate the birth of CD’s started in the year 1979, when Philips and Sony got together to design a new digital audio disc.

Ah fun times! But, it was after those generations when us millennial music revolutionaries helped refine that way music is listened to in today’s world. The first line of iPods was released on October 23, 2001.Which to summarize is a line of portable media players designed and marketed by Apple. They were invented approximately 8½ months after iTunes was released.

Of course we can’t ignore the era of p2p sharing software like LimeWire. Which LimeWire’s initial release was in 2000, both p2p sharing software and iPod were in the same era. Holy virus! While the normal p2p sharing software is completely legal since there’s nothing wrong with simply sharing files over the Internet, that wasn’t enough for us millennials. That’s when illegal downloads for both music and movies became super popular, but for a while honestly it was an intriguing trial period. Say what you want about illegal downloading, but as a person today that has no problem purchasing music legally, I’m also not timid to reflect on a time when I didn’t ( as a teenager.)

Music streaming

All of that is what now brings us to music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and others. Like I mentioned before, I’m very supportive of all artists and bands getting paid for their hard work. But as an avid music listener, music streaming is absolutely the most efficient way we’ve consumed music yet. Having one place that contains nearly ever song and every album ever made at your fingertips is absolutely genius.

It’s streaming services like Pandora, Spotify and Apple Music that are all direct responses from p2p sharing. We’ve all come to the realization that the market has changed. People would rather have 20 songs by 5 artists than 40 songs by one artist. The perfect solution for this was music streaming. All of your favorite music at your fingertips for a monthly subscription.

In contrast, we as millennials have watched cassettes, vinyl, 8 track, cd’s and iPod all collapse to smart phones, computers and streaming services. We’re the only generation that can say at one point in their childhood they had a record player, a cassette player, a portable cd player and iPod all before we turned 18 years old. It’s what makes our generation so unique, and why we’re called “millennials.”



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