You Say You Want a Revolution: How Steve Jobs Changed The Music Industry

From the iPod to iTunes, it’s no doubt Steve Jobs had a profound effect on technology, music, and everything in between.  Many have said that Jobs rescued the music industry, giving fans a more effective way to find, store and share music, and giving bands a larger and more reachable audience pool.  Apple’s success was clear – during iTunes’ first year in operation in 2003, 30 million digital downloads of songs were sold. Within two years that figure increased to 1.2 billion song downloads.

Industry bigwigs have been sharing their thoughts about Jobs’ impact:

“He was a true visionary who forever transformed how fans access and enjoy music,” Recording Industry Assn. of America Chairman and Chief Executive Cary Sherman said Thursday in a statement. “With the introduction of the iTunes software and other platforms, Steve and Apple made it once again easy and accepted to pay for music.”

The Riverfront Times recently created a list of Jobs’ Six Best Music Innovations – and we especially like the following less-obvious items:

1. The USB Port. Although Apple didn’t invent USB, the company was the first to include USB ports on home computers. Ever since, these ports have become an integral part of modern music. Mp3 players, recording interfaces, portable hard drives stocked with a lifetime supply of obscure dub remixes; USB (or its more intense big brother, Firewire) is essential in syncing our computers with our analog, real-life music experiences.

2. Garage Band. Many recording studio owners, engineers, and producers have spent the better part of twenty years freaking out about becoming obsolete. While these professionals generally have an advantage in the skill department, they’ve lost a bit of their edge with the boom of home recording products that have been stealthily improving over the years. GarageBand is by no means as powerful of a music production tool as ProTools or its competitors, but it’s a stellar introduction to the often intimidating process of recording. The fact that it comes standard on all current Mac computers puts its capabilities in more hands than any similar program to date. With enough time and energy at your disposal, you can even use GarageBand to make a hit. Remember “Fireflies”, the Postal Service-aping single by Owl City? The track was produced on GarageBand.

3. The iPad. Gorillaz used an iPad to produce an entire record. Brian Eno used the device to take his generative music concept to a new level. The Digitech guitar effects company just developed a system interfacing digital recreations of famous guitar pedals with a physical board to step on during live performance. The most exciting thing about the iPad is that we’ve barely unlocked its capabilities.

The impact the music industry has seen with these innovations will only continue.  Just think – what’s next?

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