Short history of Music listening


New insight and infographics that will guide you through the key moments of the music history

Could you imagine the world without music? What a dreadful thought, you’d think, just like a great Nietzsche said,

Without music life would be a mistake.

The idea of rhythm is old as the humankind itself, but it took us some time to create the first melodies that were the real musical expressions of human emotions. But only with exploration of harmonies and it’s synergy with the rhythm the music became a universal language and a true form of art.

Throughout its history music was something people had to reach out for, whether in theatres, churches or public squares, whether it was opera or burlesque, the music was “outside”. The phonograph changed everything, as the music slowly moved, from concert halls to our living rooms, giving us a more intimate experience. In the last century great music inventions have one by one affected the music listening, the performance and even the society itself, from the first gramophones and radios, home stereo systems, up until Walkman and digital music.

If you are a bit nostalgic you might feel that music listening lost its solemnity. Enthusiasm once started long before you could actually hear the album: just remember when your favourite music magazine published the news that the artist you like will release the new album, followed by months of waiting, up until the day came and you rushed to the music store to buy the LP or the cassette, rush back home, and dedicate a full hour or more to the actual listening. Today, this process, from music discovery to actual listening lasts no more than 1 minute, and we rarely have time to actually “hear” the music, since we can listen to it while we work, do sport, or commute: basically it became the soundtrack of our life. On the other hand, technology gave us the infinite freedom of choice and availability of virtually every song ever made, anytime and anywhere.

The music is today the fundamental part of digital entertainment and apps have opened a new chapter in its evolution. Apps collect data from our behaviour, activities and position and they are able to create a personalized context, that helps recommend new artists and nearby concerts. Our record collection today includes every song ever written, and it still fits the palm of our hand. That is the pure beauty of the technology.

If you’re curious about the statistics behind the digital music industry be sure to check out our article A new era for music?

Discover the evolution of music listening in our new infographics.