How new technology leads to new music

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Looking back at the history of pop music, you see new technology leading to new genres. New possibilities make way for new creativity. What can we do with this new piece of equipment? How can we use it in a way it isn’t supposed to be used? That’s the innovative spirit leading to new stuff. In this blogpost The Innovation Station — yes, help us build the best collection of videos on innovation — focusses on music. We don’t focus on the way digitization has influenced distribution and has cut out the middleman, we do that another time, we focus on the the way new technologies have lead to new instruments have lead to new music. We present you 5 videos out of the 500 our collection contains. Enjoy!

Erwin Blom (The Innovation Station)


It all started with a guitar: Freddy Fender was an innovator

The electric guitar has changed music. The electric guitar gave music power, gave music energy. Leo Fender (“He was all about the new”) played an important role in the music revolution that lead to rock, to punk, to funk, musical genres that wouldn’t have been around without guitars like the Fender Telecaster, the Fender Stratocaster, the Fender Precision bass. Fender is still an innovative company using 3D-printing technologies to try out new models. The Story Of The Guitar goes back to early Fender days.

It all started with a bassline: accidental innovation with a Roland TB303

A lot of innovation is accidental. It was not intended. It happened. Because a piece of technology ended up in experimental hands, because people started looking for the extremes. You can definitely say that for the Roland 303. The Roland basscomputer was intended to be a bass accompaniment for guitarists while practising alone. Just plain bass riffs. Untill artists started doing other stuff with it. And, with other Roland instruments like the 808, 909 and more, became the basis of a whole new genre: house music! This documentary is somewhere between radio and tv but tells the whole story!

It all started with a beat: the most sampled 6 seconds of drum

Two record players was all the original hiphop crews needed. They used them in an innovative way. They didn’t play complete tracks, they played small bits from records, repeating them by using two recordplayers and two identical records. Later came the sampler that made cutting up, repeating and mixing bits of music easy. Thanks to the sampler there are 6 seconds of drums from the past that we all know. Another Nate Harrison narrated video.

It all started with binary code: The History Of Blue Monday

After the sampler came the computer. But not immediately did we have good working sequencers and other software. The originators had to do a lot themselves. For example, New Order had to program the bassline of Blue Monday with their own binary code. This documentary gives a nice insight of the making of a classic. “We wanted to make new music by using new instruments and take the old one step further.”

It all started with building on someone elses idea: Everything Is A Remix

Computers and the internet have changed all aspects of music. From production to promotion to sales to distribution. Music is digital now. And everything digital can be copied easily. And because you can copy and therefore re-use every bit of text, image, sound or video, that’s what happens. And that leads to new material, new creativity, new genres. Art has always built on work of the past, but in a digital word that’s what literally happens. This is a must see documentary about intellectual property in a digital world.


Thanks for reading and watching. Visit The Innovation Station, a collection of 500 videos on innovation — from robotics to social innovation to gadgets to energy — and add your own favorites too! Erwin Blom

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