Roads? Where we are going, we don’t need roads. Thanks to Back to the future, the pure imagination that leapt from the screen into our minds represented a taste of things to come in the coming decades. Okay, we haven’t really discovered time travel yet, but we’re on the verge of becoming an interplanetary species. Technology moves us all forward and therefore its rapid adoption is inevitable. We order everything we need online, drive in self-driving cars and communicate with each other like never before.
The same goes for the music industry. While the digital recorder and subsequent advancements in sound engineering have already revolutionized the music industry, we are also seeing an increased awareness and development of tools for the creator economy. People have been able to identify various gaps which can be filled with the help of technology, and thus begins a new era of revolution in the music industry. TikTok and platforms like it have enabled the creator economy like never before. From a mere 3-4% participation rate for long-form video creation to around 30% for short-form videos, online creators have multiplied like never before. Even so, the rest of the 70% remains unlocked and there to be exploited. We meet many people who are passionate about music but have little understanding or know-how to bring their ideas to life. There is a vast opportunity and role that these technologies can play in making this possible. With the emergence of human-computer interfaces that assume zero familiarity with a musical instrument, and those that are thought-controlled, there are very few barriers to “release” this musical concoction into your neurons. !
Web3 can be simplistically defined as “the internet owned by builders and users, orchestrated with tokens”. This opened up huge income and expression opportunities for people and introduced a new digital culture. We need to understand that current creators’ revenue streams are skewed. Resources will always be limited in a world that allows loans for STEM education but not for studying or learning music. Web3 has the potential to help early adopters and creators with a more accessible platform to spread impact, influence and revenue. Web3 applications allow creators, including musicians, to monetize their art directly without relying on traditional media which may be biased in favor of established artists. Combining the power of monetization with the immense reach offered by social media platforms, we are looking for a potentially limitless audience for artists who have so far been confined to local boundaries.
Art, music and culture play an essential role in bringing people together. The music transcends gender, age, gender and geography and builds strong social bonds and tribalism. Web3 technology may be the link creators need to reach audiences around the world and create pockets of influence that even traditional artists would struggle to reach. This brings us to the metaverse. Imagine artists being able to collaborate virtually, create better content, and provide their patrons with on-demand entertainment. Aspiring artists can host meta concerts for people to experience original art and increase their sphere of influence. The possibilities are almost endless.
There’s a speaker, camera, and voice recorder in everyone’s pocket these days. With ubiquitous access, everyone is potentially a creator who can express their skills, such as singing, music or performance art, through platforms with democratized access. The real winner in all of this is the consumer, constantly on the lookout for original ideas, creativity and entertainment. The Metaverse allows for synergy and an immersive experience that creates a lasting impression. You can be virtually present at a jam session of your favorite artists around the world on a Thursday night without having to leave your home.
Trends such as hyper-personalization, cross-platform availability and digital perception are already dominating the music landscape. Artists must master the art to take advantage of this technology themselves. Of course, the personal touch and original, thoughtful, and profound artistry will always be in demand, and technology cannot replace that for the user experience. We are already in the midst of a mini-revolution where music is not just consumed but an active part of how millions of people express themselves on social media. Understanding subtle user nuances like this can open up great opportunities for artists.
Technology also comes with a set of unique challenges. Artists and users will need to be aware of and educate themselves on copyright laws, creative licensing, and ethical ways to collaborate. The more doors technology opens, the more we may see intellectual property disputes and attacks on artists’ creativity that the industry must come together to resolve.
It is also essential to keep it simple for consumers. Multiple apps that fracture the consumer experience can create challenges for consumers (think Joe Rogan taking his podcast behind a paywall). It has the potential to alienate a loyal following and eliminate reach altogether in some cases. Simple, all-in-one platforms that allow users to consume, express themselves, and participate will eventually win the numbers war. Platform creators must look at human and technology integration through multiple lenses to understand user behavior and create platforms that unify and deliver an exhilarating music experience.
In 16th century Europe, mankind witnessed the renaissance of art, culture, science and literature because the Medici family provided adequate patronage to artists, scientists and philosophers for collaborate and learn from each other. With technology like the modern Medici, artists from diverse fields must come together to create differentiated yet seamless experiences for audiences hungry for more. 1985’s Marty McFly would have been suitably impressed with the revolution taking place in the music industry had he visited 2022. I can imagine him raving to Dr Brown when he returned to 1985 about how everyone carries a world of entertainment everywhere with them (instead of skateboards), and each is an artist in their own right. Exciting times ahead!
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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