It is quite interesting to live in a time when the music industry is experiencing major shifts brought about by rapid developments in technology and changing lifestyles. I personally feel fortunate that I won’t have to read about all these changes as part of some theoretical music history lesson some time in the future.
Slowly being phased out is the album in favor of neatly organized playlists. Instead of listening to Nonini or Nat King Cole, we now listen to ‘genge music’ and ‘relaxing jazz to work to’.
Music can no longer be said to be a complementary addition to other life activities. Supported on the back of streaming popularity and improved internet speeds, we have integrated music seamlessly into everything. Cooking some pasta in the kitchen? Simply shout ‘play me cooking music’ and your virtual assistant will do the rest. Working on a new blog post for your company? Relaxing with your friends in the Mara? Fixing the spark plug in your vehicle? There’s a playlist for all that.
A lot of players are involved in pushing the music industry to the next level. It feels like Christmas for music lovers. Having access to the world’s discography is a pretty sweet deal. It also comes with its challenges.
How do you decide what music to listen to? Your music palate is also not of a single mind. Today you want to vibe to some reggae music, tomorrow you might feel excited and energetic. You will want your music to reflect that disposition. Enter playlists. On Spotify alone (which is still not officially available in Kenya), 1 billion playlists are generated by music lovers every day. They are not limited to genre, artist, demography or any metadata for that matter. They are mood playlists and activity playlists. Emotion playlists.
The landscape has shifted. Those who don’t adapt will die out. We might remember them in a passing conversation about nostalgia but they’ll be dead. “Here lies a great music platform.” we’ll say. Then we’ll ask our smart speakers to play us whatever we want. Like an old friend who knows you, the smart speaker will deliver promptly because someone else is out there adapting right now.