Updated: Aug 4, 2021
The way that humans interact with music and sound has been a long going study. The way you feel when you play music, the setting you are in when you play music, even the energy that it gives people. Technology is nothing but new ways to help people get something done faster or more efficiently. When we think about what things can be done to improve the experience for the artist and the listener we could name plenty of things. With that in mind we could look no further to technology to enhance such experiences. So how can the study of human interaction with music be combined with technology? Well there are a few words to look out for when trying to figure out these things, algorithms , artificial intelligence , machine learning, collaborative filtering, and natural language process. These words are playing a major role in how the music industry is being shaped.
Algorithms is a program that consists of step by step procedures that solves data in a logical way. Most social media outlets and streaming platforms use algorithms to push artists to the right fan base. Algorithms are what started spotify playlisting and what drives certain social pages to like minded users. The inner workings of a playlist is based on the artist that the user follows, tracks they listen to, and what they saved as their personal favorite. With this information the computer hardly needs any help creating a personal playlist for the users. This very technology changed the way people consume music. Long time ago for somebody to get played on radio you had to know some people that know some people. Now with the right data you can pitch your music to people by just looking up the mood of a playlist and reaching out.
Artificial intelligence is what takes algorithms and uses them more in a human way to implement them. This is helping artists to create music based on data the artificial intelligence manipulates.
Machine learning is a set of algorithms that is fed with structured data in order to complete a task. Machine learning algorithms use statistics to find patterns in massive amounts of data. Which keeps track of words images clicks which can be also fed into the machine learning algorithm . This is how musicians can utilize marketing by using this technology. Digging into the database of niches that is similar to the artist genre. As a result, building a fan base at a faster pace with the right strategy.
Collaborative filtering is a form of machine learning and is a technique used in recommendation engines. So when someone buys a product it shows what the customer usually gets with that product. This form of machine learning is not limited to just products but it can be implemented in other companies. For example, spotify is able to predict which new release would be of interest to the listener.
Natural Language Processing is another form of machine learning where a computer processes and analyzes words into data. Spotify has also used Natural Language Processing to bring awareness of news articles, blog posts, and song metadata to generate hash tags. In term this creates useful information for any type of musician to be a part of a community.
Raw Audio Processing of Psychoacoustic Attributes is the act of evaluating audio files of a song to identify commonalities and differences between one song and another. Some of the terms that Spotify in particular use are duration, energy, liveness, tempo, and pitch. Just to name a few terms, but this shows you the playing field of how things can be monetized by just understanding your niche.
The music industry has made newer efforts to be more inclined to technological growth than the past. The famous transition between hard copies and streaming was not an overnight process; it nearly took two decades. One of the areas where technological innovation helped the music industry is marketing. While any industry would be more on the fence about technology, but when it came to marketing it raised a couple eye brows early. It took a lot of money to even be able to run such an ad and that's not even counting the contacts you need to be able to start such a campaign. Now with new technology you can dig into a database that keeps track of all types of information users are using. Not only that, the information back then was far more limited in terms of trying to retarget interested people by emails. With a database filled with so many customers it produced much bigger returns than traditional marketing. Which in turn created diversity in the way things were normally programmed. Trying to reach the gatekeepers is all a game of understanding your fan base and even to safe to say just a matter of data.
When it comes to creating and ensuring diversity in the programming of music one should always look towards a playlist. There are 3 playlist types, first being algorithmic, second editorial and third personal playlist. With an algorithmic playlist it pushes relevant tracks that are auto-curated by the streaming service. The things that trigger these algorithms are based on prior listening habits that the streaming company collects. Editorial playlist is more of a human selection with the aid of machine learning. Editorial playlists are based around genre mood and activity. While editorials have the help of machine learning, personalized playlists are a mix of algorithms and editorial playlist. This is where you get a more niche based playlist based on the user preference and engagement.
With all this being said we kind of got caught up to date on how technology is shaping the way we engage with music as of today. What about the next things we all have to look out for? A funny word that's been talked about for a time now is crypto. The most known token is bitcoin. Bitcoin is based on block chain technology. Block chain technology maintains a record of transactions that peer to peer can see and organize. Block chain technology can change the way music rights and royalties are established. Instead of having a mediary keep track of all the files like a collective management agency. Block chain also introduces the technology of non-fungible tokens. Bitcoin is interchangeable meaning you can swap a bitcoin for a bitcoin which will end up with the same thing in exchange. Non fungible token is something that is unique and something that can be exchanged for a crypto token. This allows fans to be able to have limited and authentic art work. This doesn’t just stop at art work, this could change the way people buy concert tickets. This puts the power back in the artist's hand to be able to keep track of all tickets that were sold. Not only that NFTS can include smart contracts to gain royalties for anytime it is resold. With streaming and blockchain technology it is only a matter of time before a decentralized app (Dapp) will incorporate an easy way to stream and collect decentralized royalties. The way the music industry is going now, it’s showing a nice direction of giving independent artists more advantage with the proper knowledge.