Monday, September 29, 2008

Past and Present of Music Storage

Most people have a good time listening to music. Throughout history, music has been a symbolic way of showing many things; from signs of war to ways of celebrating. There are many different genres of music in the world and every song has a meaning. That being said, as our technology has increased, we have developed new means of storing, listening, and creating our many different types of music.

In the 1870’s, Thomas Edison created a working Phonograph (Record Player). This invention used a rotating disk and an arm to navigate to the section of data on the disk. If we are to look at this invention of a vinyl disk that uses grooves to store memory and look at current hard drives that use a navigational arm and magnetic memory, we see a striking similarity. This pays homage to the older ways of invention.

In 1935, Joseph Bagun invented the first magnetic tape player called the Sound Mirror and then created the first cassette player the Dailygraph. In 1962, compact versions of cassettes (Polyester tape with magnetic dust) were available allowing people to even carry music on the go using Walkman’s (created by Sony in 1979) that were around six by four inches. This changed the way music was stored from large records to a smaller more portable packages. Music has become a convenience to many people in their cars, at home, and in their ears on the go. As is with all technology, when it progresses and is sold to consumers; it will become cheap.

Around the same time that Sony invented Walkman’s (1979) they also with the Philips Company invented the compact disc. The Compact Disc uses Digital a data storage approach, adding more quality and convenience. The quality of the discs compared to a tape is greatly increased, a disc can have from seventy to eighty minutes of music but the quality can vary, this is not the case with cassettes as their quality cannot be changed from the original tape material. CD’s (Compact Disc) could also be stored more effectively due to their small disc shape and stack ability. Upgrading from magnetic to digital also made the usage of the CD’s more users friendly and lead to capability of computer based music storage. For example, people could now skip a song instead of fast-forwarding and you could store and burn songs on your computer.

Computers allow the management of music in many different formats stored in both solid state chips and on hard disks. A computer can store masses of music in a small portion of space, making CD’s only convenient for mobile purposes. As technology grew - as it always does - it reduced the size of physical components, allowing devices to do more. This progression of technology and the worlds love of music lead to the MP3 player. MP3 Players (Created by Saehan Information Systems in 1998) are small portable devices that store music similar to the way that computers, Digital memory on Hard Drives and Chip Boards do. This has made mobile music playing easier and in greater amounts. For example, instead of carrying a stack of CD’s, the user can carry three by two inch devices that can store more music than needed (over one thousand songs). In today’s world, it is highly unlikely to go to a public area and see anyone without headphones in their ears and an MP3 strapped to their body.

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