The music industry is much different today than it was even a few years ago. And technology is a big reason for that. On a broad level, the biggest change that has happened is with regards to streaming music and online playlists. No longer do you have to purchase albums on a physical medium like CDs, discs, or any tape. Now, the world’s music is at your fingertips through subscription services. Have you ever wondered how many of those services work? To answer that question, you have to dig into the technology.
If you explore Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, and Bandcamp, you get a good idea of several of the ways that companies use technology to enable music streaming.
Perhaps the most popular one is Spotify. On your computer or your mobile phone, it’s a free app to install, and you can even utilize most of the streaming service for free. You can pay for a subscription to get additional extra benefits. But in particular, the technology behind Spotify playlists is part of what makes it so compelling. There’s a mixture of personalized and algorithmic data transfers that happen all the time to determine what your favorite kind of music is, and what new music you will enjoy. Beyond that, the technology behind the company will stream the music at the best bitrate so that you can have the most enjoyable experience possible wherever you are.
When you sign up for Apple Music, you’re getting a lot of the same features as through other streaming services, but there are a lot more options, and it’s completely integrated with the iOS and OS X framework. As long as you know what your ID login is, once you get your subscription up and running, you have access to pretty much all of the mainstream music in the world, and cloud technology allows you to upload your files to a server. From there, everything is available whenever you want on other synchronized devices.
As far as individual unsigned artists getting their music out there, SoundCloud is an interesting platform. It’s gone through many iterations, and has pushed streaming technology to where it is today. Some of the more interesting aspects of SoundCloud include the fact that people can leave comments on the song’s timeline so that artists can get immediate feedback about the quality of their music.
And technology has allowed companies like Bandcamp to put their footprint out their own music streaming as well. After an artist uploads music to the main server, they can choose how that music it streamed, what people have to pay to download high-quality versions of it, and whether songs are released individually or as an album. This is a huge benefit to people who are just trying to test the waters of selling their music online.