Decoding Technology Marketing
Nick Louie loves exploring the art of storytelling to turn complex ideas and elusive values into a palpable, compelling message.
Stretch limbs. Pour coffee. Play music. My workday routine is simple, yet crucial for me to get in a productive mindset. And I’d argue it’s the music that most jumpstarts my creative thinking.
After all, music is a universal language. Fast Company, Forbes and countless other publications have written about how music can support productivity in and outside the workplace. As more people listen to music to support inspiration and productivity, the business opportunities around accessing and supporting music have become more intriguing.
Since Thomas Edison’s first cylindrical audio recording in 1877, audio technology has evolved to bring us radio, 45 and 33 1/3 RPM record players, eight-track tape players, the Walkman and the MP3 player. Thanks to these innovations, region-specific music styles from blues and jazz to reggae and hip hop were able to spread across oceans and countries.
Where being a music industry disrupter once depended on pioneering innovative recording methods or playing devices, today’s disruptors are pioneering unique services to entice audiophiles across genres, devices, geographies and cultures. Remember Napster? Whether you consider them a villain, hero or something in between, they challenged the Recording Industry Association of America’s carefully crafted profit system and the paradigm that individuals must pay for their own music. Napster changed consumer attitudes toward music sharing, opening the door for the music services we use today. YouTube, Pandora, Spotify and so many more services owe their cultural relevance and longevity to Napster.
So what’s next? Jay-Z is leading the revamp of music streaming service Tidal, which plans to sign first-window deals with high-profile artists before other services can stream their tracks. Sony and Spotify are teaming up to enable PlayStation owners to stream their tunes while gaming. And YouTube is working to launch its Music Key service of ad-free music and, yes, even background playing and offline access in the near future.
Still, none of these are groundbreaking like Edison’s cylinder or Napster’s sharing model. I believe the next paradigm shift and big market disruption will occur as negotiations between music streaming services and songwriters, artists and the RIAA become more mutually beneficial or disintegrate under profiteering. Then there’s the possibility investing in artists in new ways—perhaps helping artists publish music as an investment? If we value new music, we must value the ones who create it.
Is technology helping or inhibiting music? It’s hard to say sometimes, but I think technology is forcing all of us to get creative in how we experience music—not just at work or at home, but everywhere.
What are you doing to push music forward?