During the classical and Romantic eras, music was only available through sheet music scores and so people would buy the sheet music of their favorite pieces and songs to play them at home on the piano. With the advent of sound recording, records of popular songs, rather than sheet music became the dominant way that music lovers would enjoy their favorite songs.
In the 1980s home tape recorders were invented and in 1990s, digital music has evolved. Music lovers could make tapes or playlists of their favorite songs and take them with them on a portable cassette player or MP3 player. Mix tapes were very popular at the time because it serves as a “self-portrait, a gesture of friendship, prescription of an ideal party…and an environment consisting solely of what is most ardently loved.”
There are several ways or media in which music can be heard by the public, and the most traditional way is to hear it live, in the presence of the musician(s), in an outdoor or indoor space such as an amphitheater, concert hall, cabaret room or theatre. Live music can also be broadcast over the radio, television or the Internet, or recorded and listened to on a CD player orMP3 player. Some recordings are actually better than the actual performance because of the use of editing techniques and splicing.
Nowadays, with the rise of online communities and social media websites like Youtube and Facebook. These sites make it easier for aspiring singers and amateur bands to distribute videos of their songs, connect with other musicians, and gain audience interest. Professional musicians also use Youtube as a free publisher of the promotional material. Users of YouTube not only download videos and listen to MP3s but also create their own videos to be seen by the public. There has been a shift from a traditional consumer role to what they call a ‘prosumer’ role, a consumer who both creates content and consumes.