Music lovers world over can relate to the dilemma faced by music makers throughout the world. The music world was first dogged by problems of piracy (still prevalent). They tried to tackle those problems by making music available through MP3’s. However, this did not do much to solve the problems.
Companies like Napster added to the already existing issues. Then they called a truce and started selling music through companies like Spotify and Apple. The main problem plaguing the industry is that of sustainable revenue. Selling music online though is not a long-term solution for the significant fall in music-related revenue since CDs became outdated.
Technology is ever evolving. Artists and labels in their urge to beat competition think out-of-the-box and come up with new ways of interacting with fans. This coupled with the latest technology gives people new ways of experiencing the music. Some of the technologies in music and technology being used are:
Virtual Reality: Simply stated Virtual Reality offers you an experience to enjoy something from the comforts of your home. Therefore, now you can be part of a live show, audio release or recording of a song (that the artist chooses to share).While it is impossible to replace the feeling of watching a Rock show live, there are a number of fans who lack the resources, lack physical and mental abilities to be part of such shows. This opens up huge opportunities for people in general.
VR does offer quite a few opportunities in communities where the society is not as open for public singing or public shows. While it is a wonderful tool for education where a teacher from one country tutors kids in another, it opens avenues for revenue as well where merchandise is sold.
Artificial Intelligence: Another concept that is gaining momentum is that of an association between Artificial Intelligence and Musicians. What is always of concern for smaller musicians or artists is the fact that a large amount of money is spent on licensing sounds, tracks, and pieces that are used as background scores. With AI (Artificial Intelligence), startups like Jukedeck (a company based out of London) are able to provide small pieces of music or songs created based on an algorithm. This saves a huge amount of money for small-timers who can focus their energy on creative aspects of song making.
Blockchain and Ethereum: In order to understand the relevance of this technology to music, you will need to know what it means. Ethereum is a form of digital currency (which self-regulates to allow only a single usage) which functions based on Blockchain technology. This technology allows the seller and buyer to meet without the involvement of a third party. In addition, this transaction is kept public (needs to be seen, verified and approved by all the networks) using encryption technology making it very safe.
How does this work for the Music Industry? Typically, artists on streaming services are unable to get their due credit (money) since there is a huge grey area as far as compositions and their ownership is concerned. When artists provide their compositions, payment information on an open-source medium, it will be a win-win situation for artists and listeners, especially so for small-time artists.
The music business has always had a love-hate relationship with technology. However, with newer technologies finding their way into our lives, they can hope to survive only if they find a way to co-exist.