Of all the ways in which music has changed over the course of the twentieth century, the most fundamental was the shift from being something people played to something they consumed and from being part of a larger experience to being a thing that is often heard alone and out of any set context. Audio recording, simply by existing, separated sound from performance. Until recording, music did not exist without someone playing it, and as a result music listening was necessarily social. There was no way to hear a musical group without other people being present – to play even a duet, there had to be two people in the room. It is hard to think about how different that must have been, as everyone reading this book has listened to music alone. Indeed, with Walkmans and MP3 players, it has become common to use music to shut out the rest of the world.

Elijah Wald, “How The Beatles Destroyed Rock ‘n’ Roll”.

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