National Features and Documentary Series

How Digital Changed Music

Lachlan Wyllie, 28th September 2017
Produced by Kaarina Lindell (Triple R, Melbourne)
Mentored by Michael Schubert (Bay FM, Byron Bay)

The ways we can access and listen to music today have changed remarkably since the pre-digital era.

That was before terms like “MP3” and “streaming” existed – and that really wasn’t so long ago. Such a big change must have had major repercussions for the music industry too.

In How Digital Changed Music, Kaarina Lindell explores how the shift to digital has impacted musicians.

I’ve always been fascinated by obsolete media.

It’s jarring to think that one day I played a cassette for the last time, or used a discman for the last time, and then this thing that had been part of my everyday life went away without my even noticing.

Most of the media coverage about the shift to digital formats tended to be sensational: “Digital killed the music industry” - so I wanted to look at it with a broader focus, and I pitched the idea to the National Features and Documentary Series. When I was accepted, this gave me sufficient “credibility” to approach some of Australia’s most-loved musicians and ask them a whole bunch of questions about a topic I love.

It was a real honour to spend time talking to Brian Mannix, Henry Wagons and Marcie Jones. I’m still in awe at their creativity, insight and honesty, and how much skill is required to be as entertaining as they all are. Looking at the sum of their experience, it says a lot about the power of having a sense of humour and seeing creative opportunity in challenge.

The process of making this documentary felt quite meta at times. 

When many artists were talking about now having all the tools they need to make music at home, the same was true for me as a radio producer. Digital media has opened up access to recording and editing tools, so I feel very lucky to be part of the first generation to be able to make a radio documentary in their living room. In the modern era, you’re only limited by your ideas. You don’t need to know what you’re doing - you just need to start. As Henry Wagons said, the potential solutions are only a few clicks away.

My infinite gratitude goes out to everyone who contributed to this documentary: all the artists, my mentor Michael Schubert and everyone at Community Radio Network and Community Media Training Organisation, Andrew Griffiths from Resurrection Radio, Tim Redmond, and friends and family for their feedback and patience with endless talk of digital media. Creators across the world were also very generous with their permissions to use various sound beds, images and sound effects.  

It seems fitting that in so many ways, this feature would only have been possible in the digital age.

Online Extra


Featured Artists

The following artists generously gave their time to talk about digital media and what music means to them. There are many, many great stories here and I could only tell one... 

This piece was made for the CBAA's National Features & Documentary Series 2017, a showcase of work by new and emerging Australian community radio producers, with training and mentoring provided by the Community and Media Training Organisation. The opinions expressed in National Features & Documentary Series content are those of the individual producers or their interviewees, and not necessarily shared by the CBAA or CMTO.


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National Features and Documentary Series

In early 2017, seven participants were chosen to create pieces for the CBAA's National Features & Documentary Series, receiving training from and mentoring by the Community Media Training Organisation. 

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How do you pitch to the National Features and Documentary Series?


In early 2017, seven participants were chosen to create pieces for the CBAA's National Features & Documentary Series, receiving training from and mentoring by the Community Media Training Organisation. 


The CBAA's National Features & Documentary Series (NFDS) gives new and emerging community radio producers the opportunity to make a radio feature for national distribution, receive mentoring from experienced producers and be paid for their work. All you need to enter is a great idea!