Music begins as sacred noise, the accompaniment to sacrificial ritual, a bacchanalian clamor in whose creation everybody participates. The next stage is the age of “representation,” where music making is the preserve of specialists (composers, professional musicians), and takes place at special events that have a symbolic, socially stabilizing function. The modern age is characterized by “repetition”: the mass-mediated circulation of musical commodities (records). Reified as a product, tarnished by everyday currency, and “stockpiled” by isolated collectors, music loses its magical aura. Individuals in the twentieth century are exposed to more music in a month than someone in the seventeenth century heard in a lifetime, but its meaning is increasingly impoverished.
— Simon Reynolds’ Generation Ecstasy, page 46. (thanks, Alex)