The Impact of Technology and Social Media in the Music Industry

The traditional music industry structure is very straightforward with record labels being an effortless formula to deliver the music from artists to consumers. In recent years, significant transformations in technology have diminished the roles of record labels and distributors. The advent of new media has allowed listeners to access music directly from musicians on social media.

The music industry has been one of the most significantly affected industries by the revolution of technology and social media during the past few years. Amongst all, the most significant innovation in the music industry has undoubtedly been the digitization of the music scene and the emergence of music streaming websites.

According to industry experts, streaming technologies, and social media have had a revolutionary impact on the way music artists share their work and interact with listeners. Thanks to social media platforms, musicians are able to get real-time feedback from their followers to create a true brand partnership connection. Of course, discussion about music technology wouldn’t be complete without discussing the power of streaming platforms like Apple Music and Spotify. Music streaming services and audio streaming software have changed the way we discover and listen to music.

Music consumption habits of fans have changed

Where once there was peer-peer music sharing websites like Napster, now we have paid subscription-based music streaming apps on our smartphones giving us access to an unlimited choice of songs. Statistics show that physical sales of music CDs in the U.K have declined rapidly to 32 million from 132 million due to the emergence of music streaming services.

This shift didn’t happen all of a sudden, instead, it has expedited in the past years. For instance, the paid global subscribers of Spotify in 2016 was 30 million, but in the span of 3 years, it tripled to over 100 million. Apple also has a similar story of growth in terms of popularity and the number of subscribers. Another significant impact of technology in the music streaming industry is that it creates new genres that wouldn’t be possible with traditional instruments. Let’s look into some of the significant impacts of technology and social media in the music industry.

Ease of music access

Gone are the days when you had to visit a music shop to look for the latest songs. It has never been easier for music lovers to access music. Music streaming platforms make it easy for consumers to get access to their favourite songs conveniently. Users can download the latest songs in less than a minute provided you have a stable Internet connection using audio streaming software.

The feature of sharing songs on social media platforms has opened up opportunities for people to share what they are listening to with peers. This study shows that over 90% of social media users engage in music-related activities on social networks.


Better distribution

Back in the earlier days, it was a difficult task to create quality music and it was even tougher to bring it to the audience. The logistical problems associated with music distribution took years, if not decades to get worldwide recognition for creators. However, these days it is a much different story. Thanks to the evolving technologies, social media and music sharing scripts, artists are able to get their music globally without having to transfer hard copies of their creations to different parts of the world.

Artificial intelligence transforming music streaming

It is fascinating to see how technology has fueled the growth of the music industry at each milestone. Today, most music streaming platforms dominate the market by leveraging advanced technology to offer consumers an immeasurable collection of songs from around the globe. Most streaming services leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence which analyze artists, albums, songs, and playlists accessed by users to offer personalized recommendations to improve the listening experience and enhance the customer experience.

Live audio streaming software like iTunes has helped musicians to sell digital copies of their creations to a global audience with a button click. Creating actual music using AI would be the next big thing although it’s not very new. Several artists have over the years designed AI programs to mix and create compositions. Music streaming websites are currently leading the marketing in terms of AI adoption by constantly experimenting with different applications for this futuristic technology.

However, most music streaming services are still in their infancy when it comes to using technology to improve their offerings. Extensive research is being carried out on the area of AI in music streaming to analyze music to gain a deep understanding of the medium. This opens up a boundless prospect for its applications in the area of music streaming and the industry as a whole because AI and bots could be a real future in the music industry.

Live performances are becoming more immersive

Finding the intersection between content and social media and technological advancements in the industry haven’t only influenced the way people consume music but also have impacted live performances and festivals. Artists and music brands have been keen to test their hands in music-related technical innovations.

One major example of technical innovation in live music shows is virtual reality concerts. The advancements of sophisticated VR headsets combined with their wider acceptance have opened new doors for businesses to launch products that bring the immersive experience of concerts to fans. For example, Live nation paired up with NextVR to broadcast music concerts in VR to deliver an immersive music experience to fans.

Ensuring revenue generation for artists

Music streaming websites are designed to ensure fair revenue generation for music artists and creators. Most musicians invest a lot of money into developing their skills but they are very rarely recompensed.

Most music streaming services and social media platforms pay creators based on the total share of each streaming view they get. However, creators advocate for a fairer and more user-centric business model that pays them based on the number of users. As small music streaming services like Deezer are shifting towards a user-centric model, other established music streaming platforms are pressurized to move in the same path as well.

Social media has broken down walls between music artists and fans

Boosting social media engagement completely changed the way people connect with one another and how companies use social media strategies in marketing. Possibly the biggest shift within the music industry has come through social media facilitating an increased level of interaction between music artists and their followers. Now, musicians are able to present their music to a broad range of fans through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social networks.

The above image is an example of positive interactions between music artists and fans.

Social media’s role in music is also incredibly significant in bringing merchandise into the hands of music lovers. Before the Internet, the only way for musicians to sell their albums or other merchandise was in the form of personal interactions at music stores or shows. With the rising popularity of social media, musicians now have access to a broad range of tools to sell and distribute various merchandise opening up a new revenue stream as well.

The future of music streaming

Music streaming has changed the industry in the way google changed the web. Over the next decade, the music streaming industry will continue to transform with new technological advancements bringing in significant opportunities and challenges for both streaming services and consumers alike. The accessibility of music on the go will become even easier and more engaging. Smart speakers and connected devices will allow consumer engagement beyond the screen and modern technology will allow further social functionalities within the streaming platforms like Spotify or Apple Music. Technology will continue to bring more music to people with convenience at the forefront.

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