Digital technology and bluegrass

Bluegrass Today viewpointThis is the first in a series of Viewpoint articles I’m working on concerning digital technology and bluegrass. It is intended to be an introduction to the topics I want to discuss and to give you the opportunity to suggest topics I may have overlooked. Here’s a list of the topics for which I have planned discussions.

  • File trading and bluegrass
  • Legal music downloads and bluegrass
  • Podcasting and bluegrass
  • Digital video and bluegrass

Let’s save discussion about the specifics of each of these topics for it’s article, but for now feel free to ad comments suggesting areas digital technology has affected bluegrass (for good or ill) that you think ought to be added to my list.

My main goal is to answer the question:

How have the digital music revolution, file trading, peer-2-peer networks, iTunes type services, and other digital technology affected the bluegrass music industry?

Let’s hear your thoughts. Remember, you must be registered and logged in to comment. (The links are at the top of the page under the image)

  • Michael St.George

    The software available alone is astounding. “Transcribe”, TableEdit, computer recording software, dvd instruction all have contributed to any improvement I have achieved. It also makes learning more fun. I can put ear-phones on and practice along to a Kaufman cd – over and over again, easily. Your not just practicing in a vacuum, you can actually experience playing with other people at 2 in the morning when you are, in fact, by yourself (because your wife made you go to the other side of the house!)

  • Good Idea Michael. Software has really impacted the entire music industry. I was looking at software like iTunes and various peer-2-peer applications, but had not even considered a discussion of “learning aid” type applications. DVD instruction would come under the heading of Digital video and bluegrass. That discussion will include instructional, performance, promotional, and downloadable digital video.

  • How ’bout a discussion of low cost recording technology. The barriers to quality studio recording have been greatly lowered by the advances in affordable digital recording gear. Basically, anybody with a decent computer, a few good mic’s and some software can record at cd quality. Is it possible then for a local band to record, master, and press their own cd’s and make a few bucks? Any success stories out there?

    I think there’s a connection between this “home” recording and the downloading controversy. If more musicians control their product with less middlemen, they can keep prices down, thus reducing the threat of piracy.

  • Answer to Steve,

    I would say no. Yes, you can have a computer and some great mikes, you will need an expensive interface too. You might do better with one of the new 8 track digital machines by Tascam or Fostex. They are really user friendly and some have models where you can burn a CDR of your finished recording. Having a good CD to sell, the best way to sell it it is to gig alot and bring CDs to gigs. This is a proven method. I just can’t get into Facebook, mySpace and all of those social networks. You need to target your market, and have a killer product(music) to be successful, plus lots of patience.
    Jim