Great Things About Computers #4: Music

The development of technology dedicated to music has been constant during all of our lifetimes. There will be many people reading this who can remember a time when the choices available for playing music amounted to “cassette or vinyl”, with possibly an 8-track player thrown in out of left field. These days, more and more people are using their computers to find and play music.

Downloading has become a major part of the music market. Initially, the vast bulk of music downloading was done illegally through peer-to-peer file sharing sites. Mindful of the potential threat to their commercial viability, record companies used a combination of court action and the introduction of legal downloads to claw back much of this market.

Initially, MP3 players were something you had on the desktop of your PC to play songs that you had downloaded. As time has gone on, MP3s have become something you store on your computer to transfer to a dedicated player such as an iPod or, increasingly, a “smart” cell phone. These cell phones can be used to download songs themselves, too.

If you have a vast music library filled with old CDs, these can be transferred to the computer and then on to a player, or can be played through the computer’s speakers. A major advantage of this development is the ability to create playlists that take from a vast library, and make a radio or club DJ out of each of us as we seek to pick the best sequence of tracks.