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Volume 71, Issue 132, Friday, April 21, 2006

Life & Arts

Internet invades music world

The Daily Cougar

The Internet has affected many things in this world. One of the things that it has had a huge impact is the world of music.

Around the turn of the 20th century, the computer program Napster was hugely popular because it allowed people to download songs for free. The main reason people enjoyed the program was that it allowed users to download a couple of songs from each album instead of wasting money on an album with much filler material and only a few good songs -- a common occurrence nowadays.

But now the availability of music has expanded. Instead of Napster, many utilize music blogs for their music fixes. Blogs have unreleased songs; whole albums, both old and new; mix tapes; and news. Instead of waiting for a music magazine to arrive to find out news, people can visit Web sites. For example, both Fader and XXL magazines have blogs. 

Because of the availability of albums on the Internet, music just isn't the same. Advances of albums can be found weeks before they're released. Advances are usually about 50 percent to 80 percent accurate as representations of what an album will sound like. The sound quality isn't as good as the final product, and the final product usually contains a couple of other songs. Advances can spoil the traditional way of listening to music. For example, I remember many of my friends telling me to download the advance of Kanye West's Late Registration when it came out. But I didn't go that route because I wanted to wait and hear the real thing when it was released in stores. Also, advances can absolutely kill record sales. Slim Thug's Already Platinum got bootlegged and as a result the final album struggled in sales, failing to live up to its name.

Recently, Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor leaked months before the release date. The advance of the album is all over the Internet. Fiasco was heated, saying, "It's stuff like this that makes you wanna just be like, forget it." He later said he would shelf the album and start again with new songs, including collaborations with artists like Jay-Z and 3-6 Mafia.

On the other hand, the Internet has brought availability of great mix tapes. For example, the new Mash-Up Gang mix tape from Tapemasters, Inc., is excellent. It features mash-ups of hip-hop and songs of other genres. The highlight of this mix tape is the mash-up of Jay-Z's "Change Clothes" and Modest Mouse's "Float On." I'm a fan of Modest Mouse just because of that one song, so it was great to hear Jay-Z's witty lyrics over the catchy guitar melody of the band's 2004 hit.

For better of worse, the Internet's impact on music has been undeniably huge.

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