The way music can be made or listened to’ may soon go through some radical changes.’  What might today’s teens have in store for their musical landscape?

South Korean engineers at the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) have developed a new audio format, MT9, in which listeners can exercise greater control over their music.’  Is the guitar too much?’  Turn it down.’  More drums?’  Turn it up.’  Want to’ mute the vocals and do it karaoke-style?’  Sure thing.’  That’s because, unlike MP3s, MT9 files are comprised of six audio tracks that can be mixed independently by the user.’  For teens who grew up in the age of mash-ups and Guitar Hero, this is a logical progression.’  It will be interesting to see how long it takes before this concept’ becomes more widespread in how music is distributed.

As mobile music players like the iPhone and iPod Touch are infused with more processing power and higher capabilities, it won’t be long before (as Create Digital Music surmises) they’ll be able to generate their own music based on teens interests and behaviors.’  These devices could track the weather and come up with chord progressions based on whether it’s a gloomy or sunny day.’  They could track where a teen is, if they’re moving, and how fast via GPS and tailor the tempo and flavors to that information.’  This sort of thing echoes how many teens view music (as soundtracks to their lives) and developments in video game soundtracks that respond to the player’s actions instead of canned, looping music (see the Youtube video below to see Brian Eno discussing the soundtrack to the game Spore).


Finally, new developments from Goldsmiths, University of London have made headway into music that will one day function as the ultimate expression of a teen’s identity–music generated from their own thoughts.

These recent, future, and far-flung technologies are riding the wave of demands that young music consumers have of their music: to be in full control and to have their music represent who they are to the world.’  You can already see that now in the way teens are creatively sharing music, incorporating it into their lives, and remixing through means such as Splice Music or Jamglue.

~Joseph Wilk
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Teen

About Joseph Wilk

I'm a teen library assistant with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Main location. Here, I'm the graphic novel and music librarian in addition to running anime, music, LGBTQ, incarcerated youth, and video programming. I'm happy to serve YALSA as a blogger, member of the Teen Tech Week committee, and as chair of the Music Interest Group. Otherwise, you can find me in da club.

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