How Electronic Music Changed in 1982

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


How Electronic Music Changed in 1982 – In this blog post, we take a look at how electronic music changed in 1982 and how it has influenced music today.


Though it is hard to believe now, there was a time when electronic music was actually considered cutting edge and new. In the early 1980s, electronic music was still in its infancy, and artists were experimenting with new ways to create and manipulate sound. This was a time of great experimentation, and many of the techniques and sounds that are now commonplace in electronic music were developed during this period.

One of the biggest changes in electronic music in 1982 was the introduction of the MIDI standard. MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a protocol that allows electronic musical instruments to communicate with each other. This allowed musicians to connect their synthesizers, drum machines, and other devices together and create complex arrangements. Prior to MIDI, each device had to be controlled manually, which made it difficult to create anything more than simple pieces of music. MIDI changed all that, and paved the way for the development of dance music and other genres that rely heavily on technology.

Another significant change in 1982 was the introduction of digital audio technology. Prior to this, all recordings were made using analog tape machines. This meant that there was a limited amount of space on tape, and recordings could be degrade over time. Digital audio changed all that by providing near-perfect copies of recordings, and more importantly, unlimited storage capacity. This allowed musicians to experiment with longer and more complex pieces of music, without having to worry about running out of space on tape.

The 1980s were a pivotal time for electronic music, and 1982 was a pivotal year within that decade. These two developments – MIDI and digital audio – laid the foundation for everything that would come later in the history of electronic music.

The Birth of Hip Hop

In 1982, a new style of music called hip hop began to emerge in the South Bronx. Hip hop was a fusion of Jamaican reggae and American soul and R&B. It was characterized by a heavy bassline, rhythmic drums, and rhyming lyrics.

The first hip hop song was “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang. It became a hit in 1979 and is considered to be the first rap song. In the early 1980s, other artists such as Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa began to gain popularity with their own hip hop tracks.

Hip hop quickly spread from the Bronx to other parts of New York City and then to other major US cities. By the mid-1980s, it had become a global phenomenon. Today, hip hop is one of the most popular genres of music in the world.

The Rise of Electronic Dance Music

In the early 1980s, electronic dance music began to rise in popularity. This was due to the development of new technologies, such as synthesizers and drum machines, which made it possible for musicians to create soundscapes that were unlike anything that had been heard before. This new style of music quickly gained a following among young people, who were drawn to its open-endedness and experimental nature.

As the popularity of electronic dance music grew, so did the number of clubs and parties dedicated to it. In the United Kingdom, the first major club to embrace this new sound was The Hacienda in Manchester. The Hacienda became a mecca for ravers and clubbers from all over the country, and it played a pivotal role in the development of dance music culture in the UK.

The emergence of electronic dance music marked a significant shift in the way that people interacted with music. Previously, most people had experienced music passively, by listening to it on the radio or attending concerts. However, with electronic dance music, people were suddenly able to be active participants in the experience of making and listening to music. This was a key factor in the popularity of this new form of expression.

The Fall of Disco

The fall of disco in the early 1980s signaled a shift in electronic music. As disco became less popular, artists began to experiment with new sounds and styles. This led to the development of new genres, such as house and techno. House music, which originated in Chicago, was heavily influenced by disco and funk. Meanwhile, techno, which emerged from Detroit, was influenced by electronic music from Europe, particularly Kraftwerk.

The New Wave of Electronic Music

In the early 1980s, a new wave of electronic music emerged. This new style was characterized by its use of synthesizers and drum machines, as well as its incorporation of elements of pop music.

This new wave of electronic music was led by artists such as Kraftwerk, who released their album Computer World in 1981. This album featured the song “Pocket Calculator”, which became a hit in several countries. Other artists who led this new wave of electronic music include Yellow Magic Orchestra, Depeche Mode, and New Order.

This new style of electronic music had a major impact on the music industry, and it helped to popularize synthesizers and drum machines. It also influenced other genres of music, such as hip hop and techno.


In conclusion, electronic music changed significantly in 1982. The introduction of the personal computer and MIDI protocol revolutionized the way music was composed and performed, and the release of influential albums like Kraftwerk’s “Computer World” and Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock” defined the sound of the early 1980s. This period was a critical time in the development of electronic music, and its influence is still felt today.

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