From the record store to the iPhone, music has grown so much

By Michael Firuta
February 19, 2020

Over the past 50 years, music has been one of the most powerful influencers in cultures around the world. I was very intrigued by the points made by Jill Suttie. Music is a unique form of art that allows us a way to express how we feel, address social issues and ultimately impacts social activity in our world. American music is a great reflection of our current culture and our societal behavior. From the 1970s to now, music has transformed into several different genres and styles that have had a huge effect on the American people.

Graphic by Coraline Pettine.


According to, at the start of the 1970s the Beatles had broken up but their major success revolutionized music across the world. With the arrival of British artist Elton John and American artists The Jackson 5, newer kinds of music were discovered with a wider selection of music genres that changed the industry as a whole. Rock, disco, pop, R&B and funk emerge and the artists who performed these genres changed the way America’s youth danced, dressed and socialized. 

By the time the 1980s rolled in, technology had advanced far enough to allow musicians to experiment with clip tracks that allowed them to add more background and effects to their music. Music videos were also introduced and with the launch and popularity of MTV, music videos became essential to the release of new songs. The 1980s has also marked the debut of the hip hop genre with the debut of the group, NWA led by the rappers Ice Cube, Easy-E, Dr. Dre and MC-Ren. The groups’ controversial lyrics and social messages marked another revolution in American Music. 

My Playlist Provided by Mike Firuta

During the 1990s, the members of NWA inspired other famous rappers such as Tupac, Eminem, Snoop Dog and more to express social frustrations that created frustration with the law. This also gave rise to the new music genre, “Gangsta Rap.” Musicians also didn’t have to experiment as much with their instruments to create good music. Technology also had a major impact on music in the 90s. Digital recording equipment helped save artists a lot of time and allowed them to create music in the comfort of their homes. Musicians could experiment with sounds and didn’t have to rely on traditional instruments.   

From the 2000s to the present, music has been more accessible to everyone due to the success of  MP3 devices. Eventually, Steve Jobs created the iPod and iPhone that allowed everyone to download music within a few taps of their screens.


Music is one of my escapes from reality so I can have time to myself. Photo by MaxPixel.

Today, nobody has to travel to record stores to purchase vinyl or CDs. In addition, many of the more current artists perform in multiple genres unlike in the past when artists stuck to one type of music. Taylor Swift, for example, has performed in country, pop and country-pop.

From my perspective, by the time I became a junior in high school I started noticing at dances and proms that music libraries have greatly expanded and it became very difficult for me to keep up with the most popular artists. I am the kind of person who doesn’t really keep up with bands or the greatest hits, I just listen to music for the music. Good music helps me relax or daydream and a lot of my favorite songs originated between the 70s and 90s.

I find that too much of today’s modern music is very vulgar, or has very inappropriate lyrics. My favorite types of genres include disco, soft acoustics, classic pop, broadway, and anything that doesn’t really include rap, electric or heavy metal. The only exception I make for metal is the old band KISS.  

Michael Firuta

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