Modernising music might mean more moving musical moments
Technology has ushered in an era of instant gratification, and music is no exception.
Equip yourself with the right setup, and in the time it would have taken you to find the CD you want in your ‘it-makes-sense-to-me-even-if-it-doesn’t-to-anyone-else’ filing system (and then realised someone’s taken it out of the case), you could have not only listened to the track you were after, but explored their entire back catalogue, and discovered a dozen more artists you really should investigate further.
How music makes you feel better
A flood of streaming power
This is the gorgeous power of streaming music services like Spotify and Apple Music, combined with wireless Hi-Fi systems like Sonos.
The start point is the Hi-Fi system. There’s a few out there, but Sonos, the market leader, offers both ease and quality. Each speaker you have can operate independently (so you can be having an Einaudi Moment in the kitchen while AC/DC rocks the other room), or you can combine them to fill your home with music.
And they come in a range of sizes (ranging in price from £169 to £599), so you could have a little one for the bedroom, and a bigger one in the living room and an all-consuming surround sound system in the man cave, if you have one.
They connect to your home Wi-Fi network, and can stream radio, music from your phone, tablet or computer, or – and this is where the whole thing really comes alive – anything available on music services like Spotify.
Spotify and Apple Music both cost £9.99 a month, and for that price you get instant access to pretty much every record ever made. If that’s all a bit overwhelming (which it is), both offer suggestions that tailor to your tastes, so they improve the more you listen. Spotify’s Discover Weekly – curated by algorithms – can be astonishingly on point, and can lead to some amazing ‘why haven’t I heard of this band before’ moments. It’s a bit like having a learned muso friend, but working for you full time (and probably less full of pompous self-importance).
What is streaming music?
Who’s streaming music today?
Although music streaming has been around for over a decade now, a recent study conducted by independent company YouGov found that only 6% of Generation X (35-54 year olds) and, less than 3% of British Baby Boomers (over 55s) have a music streaming subscription.
Overall, just 7% of female and 8% of male internet users subscribe to music streaming services. And the older you are, the less likely you are to stream music, with 95% of all Brits over the age of 35 not subscribing to music streaming.
Why isn’t everyone streaming music?
The benefits of streaming music are enormous; you can access millions of albums, instantly. However, most music streaming services have been created for younger people who live on their phones, tablets and PCs. Under 35’s are streaming music, but services have failed to gain traction with older generations, who still prefer listening to music on the radio and through their old CD or record collections.
Research by YouGov found that people have been put off from using streaming services as they are too difficult to use, they dislike subscriptions and the monthly charges aren’t good value.
Young millennials appear to be the only social group who tolerate the hassle of registering personal details, downloading apps, paying for subscriptions and they are happy to listen to music on PCs and mobiles. The older generations expect something simpler and easier - the convenience and simplicity of the CD, or even a record.
There are new music services, like Electric Jukebox, that are trying to enable everyone to make the jump to streaming music. Electric Jukebox gives access to millions of songs without all the hassle of monthly subscriptions, apps and complicated technology by providing everything you need to start streaming music in one box.
The romanticists’ alternative
If all this talk of streaming sounds a long way from the warm static crackle of a vinyl or the musty smell of its sleeve, you’re not alone in your sensorial idyll (and bravo for making it this far into a technology article).
There’s a countermovement to streaming services, and they take the form of record clubs, whereby groups of enthusiasts gather in a room to listen to a classic album – in full, in order, uninterrupted. Possibly in the dark.
But listening to vinyl in this digital era might not even be as backwards as it seems. Austrian company Rebeat Digital recently filed a patent to develop what they’re calling ‘high definition vinyl’, which boast double the audio fidelity of today’s LPs.
So even if you’re a traditionalist when it comes to music, technology still might be able to fine-tune your listening experience. Whether you do it in the dark is entirely up to you...
The Vinyl Revival