This is a sponsored guest post.

The way we listen to music is always changing as new technologies are developed. I remember sitting patiently by the tape player, pressing record and stop when songs I liked came on the radio. My generation were teenagers when mini discs came out and bought into the fad massively. My first MP3 player was a brick (and was not an apple product *shock horror*). Today, I’m hosting a guest post about the evolution of our music listening methods.

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The way in which we listen to music has changed almost beyond recognition over the last 50 years. From record players to online streaming, the access we have to our favourite bands and music genres has developed in an unprecedented way. Similarly, the format in which we listen to and share music has changed many times over.

Vinyl records were one of the earliest ways in which people were able to listen to and share recorded music. Compared to today’s compact MP3 devices, the size of a record player appears incredible; hardly the most portable of objects. The evolution of the cassette tape player not only meant more music could fit onto the media, but it also improved the quality, removing the distant crackle associated with vinyl records. It also paved the way for the first ever portable music system.

People became able to listen to music on the go, a major step towards the way in which we listen to music today. The ability to record music from another player, such as radio or vinyl to tape also brought a new fashion to the music listening scene. Mix tapes became a popular method of sharing music, with people often making a personal tape for friends or their loved one.

The development of the CD was the next major change, with the quality of music improving dramatically. Tape players were slowly replaced by CD players and the music shop market shifted from vinyl to CD media. Mini Disks also made an appearance, bringing back echoes of the mix tape era, with the ability to record from CD, radio, tape and vinyl with ease. The sheer capacity of Mini Disks enabled users to store numerous albums on one disk.

Today, Mini Disks are no longer on the scene and have been replaced by yet another technical phenomenon – the MP3 player. The most popular and one of the first commercially successful products was of course the Apple iPod. Although there were many competing products from other brands such as Sony and Creative, it has largely been the iPod that have been so instrumental in transforming the market.

iPods have yet again completely revolutionised the way in which we listen to and share music. Music has become as portable as possible, allowing us to walk around with the equivalent of a vast library of songs and albums in our pockets.

New models of iPod are appearing all the time. With seemingly insatiable consumer appetites for the latest models, the ability for stores to sell iPod devices and accessories seems like it will be strong for many years to come yet.

The music industry has reacted to the growth in the use of streaming technology by moving online, releasing digital albums and developing a digital fan base. The access to music we now enjoy as a result of this transformation is remarkable. Facilitated by internet access, the MP3 has been at the vanguard of a new paradigm for sharing music, with the ability to instantly send tracks to friends online. The playlist has become the new tape mix and the toolbar is now the key to an infinite music collection.

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