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And then, rang the bells of change!

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how music got free

A good book is the purest essence of a human soul.” –Thomas Carlyle

I love reading, it brews me up; it clearly gets me going. Thinking of unwinding myself, I picked up this book I had heard about for some time – ‘How music got free’ by Stephen Witt. As I decided to dedicate my next few weeks reading it, my mind was already drowning in a million thoughts – how the birth of digital music in the 80’s gave rise to a new era, and its indispensible existence across the world today. Indeed, we have come a long way in a not-so-long time!

Music, amongst other things, has been quite close to my heart. It rejuvinates my senses with new energy and it surely does the same to the vast population across the globe.

As the story unfolded through the pages of this book that uncovers the disruption caused due to digital music, I started wondering, yet again, how the foggiest of an action could fuel such an immense and dramatic change, one that no one could think of before, one that changed the game of the music industry – indeed, forever! I was only more excited by now!

Casting the bigwigs of the music industry – Chairman of a big music group, a German engineer, and a music pirate, the book is an excellent narration of how technology actually turned the entire music business upside down, how it was embraced by the masses, and led to the beginning of a new age – the age of change, innovation, expertise and freedom. All the music previously recorded was suddenly accessible to everyone, free of any cost! Quite unbelievable it was, at that point of time.

I certainly enjoyed reading every bit of this thrilling description by Stephen Witt. What we see is the innovation and scale of the “IPOD”, but the research and engineering spanned over three decades. The IPOD is the UI, while the backend was the encoding of music in mp2, mp3 and aac. The story begins in a German university with a professors research in encoding music in 1/3rd of the size of the prevaling mp2 technology. It progresses with the birth of mp3, its demise due to the prevailing mp2 lobby, and its resurgence because of freeware and user adoption. All this over a span of a decade. The IPOD is the fag end of the story.

Success Is Never Planned your efforts and hard work is!

Well, what’s critical for each one to take home, is a simple learning of perseverance.

Not all the ideas would fail; not all the ideas would thrive. My message to the each one of you is to keep trying, and yes, do not hesitate in tasting failures! The story teaches us that innovation is no silver bullet and not all innovations are money spinners. It is a continuous process and always a WIP. What matters is your belief and passion in what you are doing.


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