Music: The Ultimate Industry Disruptor [Op-Ed]
This week's Make Music Day 2016 surpassed all milestones with people in more than 700 cities and across 120 countries re-imagining their cities as stages, using music to engage, unite and educate. Two industry leaders involved in this global reminder of the power of song reflect on just how essential music is.
By Bryan Bradley, SVP and General Manager, Entertainment Division at HARMAN Professional Solutions, and Aaron Friedman, President of Make Music New York and Executive Director, Make Music Alliance
Bono of U2 said it best: “Music can change the world because it can change people.” Throughout history, music has not only inspired change but has led to complete industry revolutions. While the music industry is an obvious example of an industry being turned on its head, music itself is the ultimate disruptor, defining and redefining the way people work, work out, lead, and live. It is also the great unifier, a powerful force that transcends cultures through trade, innovation, health and wellness.
Following this week’s annual Make Music Day, a global event that was celebrated across 120 countries, we thought it appropriate to reinforce music as the driver of change in our everyday lives and as a bond connecting global communities and cultures. Consider the following examples illustrating the positive disruptive powers of music and how they have changed the world around us.
Music Built the Internet
Larry Page, CEO of Google, played saxophone and studied music composition during his childhood. While attending the University of Michigan, he developed a business plan for a music synthesizer business. The synthesizer required the software supporting it to work in real time, which opened Larry’s eyes to industry issues impacting computers. Larry’s musical background provided him the perspective on the concept of speed and tempo. It is this concept that arguably continues to provide Google its competitive edge – a commitment to Internet and search speed.
Audio Killed the Video Star
In many ways, we can thank music for today’s plethora of Marvel and other action movies. Music has changed the entertainment industry into an experience industry. The surround sound we enjoy in many movie theatres today demonstrates the importance of special effects and audio to immerse audiences in stories. As the great filmmaker George Lucas said, “The sound and music are 50 percent of the entertainment in a movie.”
The integration of music and audio into cinema has spurred the evolution of the entertainment industry from a venue perspective as well. Today’s audiences expect a full immersion experience, whether in the theatre, at a concert or at home; experiencing sound with ultimate realism is what people are looking for today. Many venues in the U.S. have installed advanced audio and visual systems to ensure every note is heard and each on-screen explosion reverberates with lasting intensity.
Confronting the Double-Edged Sword of Digitization
Digitized music is a blessing and a curse. We wanted portability, but we sacrificed sound quality. Now what? Enter the ingenuity of sound engineers to deliver the music the way the artists intended. Software embedded in premium audio systems can improve the quality of highly compressed digital audio by restoring the authenticity, ambience, warmth and clarity that is lost in the compression process. Through these ingenuities, the recording industry is able to incorporate added realism into audio that might otherwise be lacking in digitally compressed music. It’s a game changer for music lovers who want their tunes on the go but don’t want to give up quality.
A healthy lifestyle today is not complete without music. Studies show that athletes can perform up to seven percent better when listening to music (Karageorghis, “Inside Sports Psychology”). It also has the power to heal. A review of 23 studies covering almost 1,500 patients found that listening to music reduced heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety in heart disease patients (Bradt and Dileo, "Music for Stress and Anxiety Reduction in Coronary Heart Disease Patients"). Research shows that playing a musical instrument can also provide a good workout for our brains, making them fitter to handle the challenges of aging (Hanna-Plady, University of Kansas Medical Center).
The B Side to Music’s Disruption
Simply stated – music matters, and we have countless reasons to invest in those who make it, produce it, perform it, broadcast it, distribute it or simply appreciate it. While the tangible impact of music is all around us, we cannot overlook its first and biggest impact on our world as a unifying experience.
The NAMM Foundation (through the Make Music Alliance) and partners such as HARMAN celebrate the unifying effect of music in communities. Yesterday, Make Music Day surpassed all previous milestones with people in more than 700 cities and across 120 countries reimagining their cities as stages, using music to engage, unite and educate.
As you go online now to google Make Music Day, buy tickets to a summer blockbuster or put on your headphones to work out after a long day, take a minute to appreciate the impact of music on your everyday luxuries, and then break out an instrument or turn up the volume in the name of innovation, entertainment and health!