Constantly updated technology assures that the future of music distribution is something interesting to watch out for.
– By Segun Adekoye
“Music and me
Go together; perfect harmony
Soft and mellow
Or so hard it’ll make your speakers explode
Stay with me
And together we’ll live out this dream,
My music and me”
One of the most intriguing things about our world is the human nature’s deep romance with music. While almost all other relationships fall apart and sometimes become almost irreconcilable, it is harder to fall out-of-love with music. From the vibrations we feel in our mothers’ wombs to the way our world is interspersed with trebles and clefs, we become more interested in how we carry our songs than what they convey to us.
From the era of transistor radios, which kicked off in 1954, till it morphed into Boomboxes in the early to mid ‘70s, music distribution was still in its primordial era. This was due to the fact that listening to your favourite songs was heavily reliant on electronic signals from radio stations. This improved with the introduction of the Sony Walkman in 1979 and the Discman in 1984, which rocked into the early to late ‘90s. The most impressive part is the introduction of portable music storage devices like the MP3 players and iPods at the turn of the millennium allowing for the storage of near-infinite number of songs with high quality audio outputs.
Now, what we have is the fusion of music storage and streaming devices with the mobile phones. One of the prominent reasons consumers seek for phones with large storage memory sizes is to store audios and videos. Vehicles are now branded with Bluetooth and MP3 logos to indicate compatibilities with mobile phones for easy music streaming. This kills the need for compact discs.
Listening to music has also evolved from using earphones with connecting jacks to wireless earphones like the Airpods, Bose or Beats headphones. While it is easy to buy your favourite songs from street hawkers in Lagos, or from the ‘Computer Village boys’, it is even easier to download them to your devices from sites like NotJustOk or apps like Apple Music and BoomPlay.
Musicians, more than ever, understand consumers’ need of portability and easy access, and therefore seek possible distribution touch points to access their fan base.
Although the present is evident, there isn’t a crystal ball that perfectly gives what distribution of music will look like in the nearest future. The only foreseeable technologies that will impact on music distribution in the future will be wearables, cloud storage and connected devices (IoT). With the advent of the Apple Watch’s cellular connectivity, it is possible to listen to music remotely while your phone is several miles away. Several other wearables will adopt this technology to make music streaming even more portable. Internet of Things (IoT) has begun to play its role in distribution using AI devices such as the Apple HomePod, Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa. The future will see the introduction of other devices that fit well into the office or home architecture to distribute music with the help of AI, while songs would be hosted on the cloud.
These are beautiful thoughts. No matter what happens, humans would always ensure that they take their favourite jams everywhere they go, even if it means weaving audio files into their fabric yarns to improve portability.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read more articles.