How Music Discovery Has Been Impacted By Technology

Why Music Series Part 4

Thus far in this series, we have focused on the way music can  define us individuals as well as the power it has to connect us across cultures; today, we will explore how technology shapes the way we discover, consume, and share music. We will look at how both musicians and marketers can use technology to create a personalized and impactful experience for listeners and consumers.

When we talk about technology, we tend to talk about it as something that is “other” than ourselves - something in opposition to humanity. In actuality, technology is created and driven by people, interwoven into the human experience. The way music and technology intertwines exemplifies the marriage of humanity and technology.

Technology and Tunes: Listen Anytime, Anywhere

Thanks to technology we can listen to music anytime, anywhere - in the car on the way to work, at the gym, and even on the beach. We touched on the ubiquity of music in the first article of this series; according to Nielsen, in 2017, the average music listener spent nearly 36 hours each week listening to music, using multiple devices. Streaming services and smartphones give listeners access millions of songs anywhere they have internet or data services. Gone are the days of carrying around massive travel CD cases; now, users don’t even need to use up digital storage to listen to their favorite songs.

Technology has given us greater access to music and has changed the devices we use to consume music, but the simple act of listening to a song is the same as it ever was. Musicians and marketers have been presented with new avenues to reach their consumers. The challenge for both artists and marketers is learning how to use the technology and data available to them to understand their audiences better.

Technology and Data: Understand Your Audience

After a successful partnership with MAX and the Ford Music program, country artist Bri Bagwell continued working with MAX to gather even more data about her listener base. By delving into her fans’ psychographic and behavioral attributes, Bri was able to determine that a significant portion of her fans were avid do-it-yourselfers. Developing a better understanding of her fans led Bri to reach out to HGTV, and she now has a partnership with the network, and a show coming out where she purchases and renovates a tiny house!

The technology behind The MAX Platform™ does more than analyze data. It allows artists and marketers to know their audiences better, finding patterns and commonalities that might not have been obvious at first glance. Marketers and musicians can use technology to facilitate a more personal connection with consumers.

Technology and Tracking: Find Unexpected Patterns

Spotify for Artists gives musicians access to information about the users streaming their music, from specific song performance to how fans are discovering and listening to their music around the world. Artists can use geographic data to decide where they should be touring, often discovering fan bases in unexpected locations. Take La Reunion Norteña for example; they are a Regional Mexican group we have worked with on a few branded campaigns. After looking at their fan base mapping in our platform, they were able to identify a fan base in Canada and booked their first performances for Canadian Norteño fans.

Conventional assumptions about who is listening to what kinds of music no longer apply. Technology has made it possible for people from different countries, cultures, and communities to discover new music that speaks to them. Musicians and marketers that have access to this data should be prepared to recognize and capitalize on unexpected patterns.

Technology and Discovery: New Music in the Technology Era

Spotify currently offers a music library of 30 million songs to users - imagine trying to decide what to listen to when you are given millions of songs to choose from; it’s overwhelming! Additionally, providing a song list 30 million lines long isn’t feasible, regardless of the type of device you are using. Spotify and other streaming services have algorithms that can recommend music curated just for your ears. You can easily create stations based on artists or songs you love and even listen to playlists like Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” or “Daily Mix” curated for you based on your musical tastes.

In addition to finding new music via Spotify suggestions, users can listen to playlists created by friends and brands. We discussed the Starbucks-curated Spotify playlist, but other brands are creating playlists with product-relevant music as well. Lululemon offers a variety of workout playlists; Herbal Essences has a playlist of songs to sing in the shower; the television show “Parks and Recreation” even created a playlist attributed to a character on the show (“Benji’s Cool Times Summer Jamz Mix,” if you’re curious). Brands should use the data available to discover artists whose fan bases align with their objectives: it all comes back to utilizing technology to understand people better.

Technology and Music: Seamlessly Working Together

Rather than “othering” technology, brands and musicians can use technology to understand their audiences better and connect with people in a meaningful way. Technology has changed the way we discover and consume music, but it has not changed the deeply human and profoundly personal experience of listening to music.

About MAX

Music Audience Exchange (MAX) was founded in 2014 with a mission to help champion incredible music and the artists who make it through strategic, data-driven partnerships with brands. MAX brings brands into the music promotional space in a way that puts engaging content into the world through a value-exchange model that drives the brand's objectives, and elevates breakthrough bands along the way.If you’d like to learn more about Music Audience Exchange and what a music promotion program would look like for your brand, send us a note.

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