Was the 1980's the decade where music underwent massive change?

No, not from good music to shitty music as some claim (although I can’t help but cringe when I hear some 80s artists and their new songs today; Sting! :confused::eek::smack:.)

I mean changes from technological revolutions; Sony releases Walkman and Compact Disc (CD) in the early 80s making music more portable. The television becomes a new platform for music videos with MTV.

That’s the tech side to it, but the music revolution is said to have occurred with the punk movement in the 70s which some say liberalized not just the content of lyrics but the style of music. English bands Devo, Joy Division, XTC.

Any dopers who witnessed these interesting changes during their youth or adult years in the 70s-80s are particularly welcome to share their experiences.

The one tech thing that really changed music massively was relatively cheap samplers.

The birth of rock-and-roll in the 50’s was far more paradigm-shifting.

The technology certainly changed but that is simply the method we accessed music. It didn’t matter whether you heard a song on a radiogram or on a Walkman - it was the music which mattered.

In the late 70s Punk broke out as a reaction against the big rock groups which had precise studio recording. Brash and angry discord became the rage.

But not with everyone and New Wave rose to eventually became the post-punk music for the thinking rebel.

Disco was in amongst punk and new wave and was very successful.

In the late 80s Grunge began to emerge and was a more musical version of Punk.

It didn’t matter how you heard the music so long as it was available.

The biggest change is the loss of whole albums of sound. They still exist but today’s listeners seize upon single songs.

The recent PBS multi-part documentary “Soundbreaking” goes into great detail to answer this sort of question. It focuses on technical changes, but always in the context of creative evolutions, social trends, and individual artistic creations, plus shifts in how music is consumed by the public.

It treats the 80s as A fascinating time of MTV-fueled popular music genre and gender bending, but more critical visually than musically.

One thing I found interesting was that the whole British “New Wave” explosion (A Flock of Seagulls, etc.) happened by accident: early MTV had hours of airtime to fill, and a bunch of artsy, futuristic, mainly British, synth-heavy bands happened to have their video art projects ready to go.

Absolutely. If you compare music of each decade-but-one, i.e. the 70s vs 90s or the 60s vs 80s, you won’t notice too big a difference really. But the shift between the 40s vs 60s is huuuuge, so the 1950s is the real game-changer.

I’d argue that hip-hop was at least as paradigm shifting.

MTV was the only real game-changer. Videos had actually been around for a good while at that point, but the biggest binge you could have on them up to that point was the hour-long Friday Night Videos. I’m not sure Madonna would have been a particularly big deal without MTV/VH1, or Sheryl Crow or Nirvana. Michael Jackson had been a very big deal, but MTV made him a much bigger deal. A lot of fairly major film directors (Adrian Lyne and Spike Jonez come to mind) got their start on MTV.

By the late 90s, MTV got so clogged with grunge and rap videos that they had to abandon the whole format and run with reality shows, so it was a short-lived game-changer for music. It’s been replaced in the culture by YouTube.

I bought my first Walkman in 1980. Wow! I can walk down the street and take my music with me! I can actually listen to 90 minutes of my own music, away from home! That was groundbreaking indeed.

Friday Night Videos actually came after MTV premiered – MTV started in 1981, and FNV premiered in 1983. it was NBC’s attempt to capitalize on MTV’s success.

Technologically, the 40s were a far bigger change. They saw the 33 rpm long-playing record and the 45 rpm single introduced. Those changed music from the scratchy, low-dynamic 78 rpm records that couldn’t play more than three minutes. “Albums” were literally that, a large number of discs bound together like a photograph album. Afterward, an album could have two 20-minute sides for a continuous mood. That had a far huger effect on music construction than cassettes or CDs.

As important or more so, the use of magnetic tape in recording also started after WWII. Captured German machines were brought back. Bing Crosby hated having to do his show live 39 weeks a year, and felt that being able to capture just the best takes in a relaxed atmosphere would be better for him. His October 1 season opener in 1947 was the first show pre-recorded on magnetic tape. He invested in Ampex and helped make them the standard for commercial recordings. The ability to piece together any number of sounds seamlessly and perfectly created the music industry we know today.

What does this even mean? There were too many videos so MTV had to stop showing videos?

I’m no expert, but to me it always seemed like the big explosion occurred in the 60’s, at least creatively.

The Beatles and their like were dropping some mind-boggling, unprecedented stuff.

I’d say more of a distribution revolution. What people refer to as 80’s music, to me means from 1978 to the early nineties. What started as Cassette, LP, Radio morphed into Cassette, LP, Video Cassette, Laser disk and Radio and Television, and towards the end, you would add the CD and Hard drive , as Napster came online.

Add in sound track driven Television shows and movies, and what we called the 80’s hit critical mass, it was probably the last real vertical integrated medium where the industry had control.

Everyone forgets the poor 8-Track. :slight_smile:

Did it have the auto- reverse (or whatever it was called) or did you have to take the cassette out and flip it over? My first player was a Sanyo, and it was built like a camera- all metal and pretty expensive for the time. It had a control for adjusting the playback speed as the batteries went dead.

There were too many videos of a specific, narrow type (or two of them), leading to a decrease of viewers who weren’t specifically into either. And this isn’t my own original observation; it was discussed in some detail in an issue of Rolling Stone back when it was still unfolding.

Imagine network television cancelling everything that isn’t a CSI-spinoff cop show or a sitcom featuring an SNL veteran. These are generally popular kinds of shows, but a significant number of people enjoy neither, and generally lower ratings resulted. Something very similar happened to MTV about twenty years ago.

The 80’s kicked ass. C’mon feel the noise!

Devo were from Ohio, and neither of the other two bands you mention were punk.

Musically, the 1950s were more revolutionary. I’d make the case hip hop and EDM started in the 80s (The Message by Grandmaster Flash; Kraftwerk started 1975 or so but picked up speed later). With Walkman, videos, synthesizer music and its antidotes – Jesus and Mary Chain, etc. you could make a strong case for the 1980s though not all genres were mainstream.