YouTube’s recent announcement of its new ad-free music subscription service is the latest news in the world of music streaming business.
It’s already a crowded place. In fact, I’m writing this post as I listen to my Joe Pass Radio on Pandora. And there are other usual suspects – iTunes Radio, Spotify, Google Play Music All Access, Rdio, Sony Music Unlimited, Xbox Music, Rhapsody and Beats Music to name a few. But for some unknown reason to the rest of us, more and more tech companies, big and small, are jumping into the already highly competitive music streaming business. Perhaps their goal is more idealistic: Fix the broken music industry.
But overall, these companies are yet again taking the road well traveled, offering very much the same content in very much the same way. The difference is obviously in the licensing. As we all know, Spotify infamously lost Taylor Swift recently from its platform. But for those everyday listeners, the user experience is very similar. Unless you’re into some obscure genres or artists, any one of these services would suffice.
As with the burgeoning OTT industry, the key to truly stand out among competitors is to offer a compelling user experience. Granted that the audio experience is more limited, compared to the video experience. But there’s still room for innovation.
Just like 4K video, how about super-high fidelity audio? What about 10.2 surround streaming sound? And some immersive audio visualization that generates audio-synced real-time graphics? You can even have user-controlled multi-channel audio streaming where the user can choose what “parts” of the audio that he wants to “enhance”.
It’s obvious that many companies are concentrating on interactive experiential solutions for video, but to resuscitate the music industry and lead it into the real digital era, there needs to be brave, trailblazing individuals and companies that explore and develop some ear-popping interactive audio experiences.
Yes, that would definitely be music to our ears!