Music has always been social. Music is just as, if not more, social (and emotional) than photos. Photos capture an experience. Music “is” the experience.
How many times have you seen your friends share a song they recently discovered on their Instagram? How about the umpteen number of times you’ve frantically searched for song links on YouTube so that you could send them across to your friends over WhatsApp?
The way in which we consume music has completely shifted. Where once there was peer-to-peer sharing of music files from sites like Limewire/Napster and high demand for MP3 players, we now have paid subscriptions to online streaming platforms on our mobile devices giving us millions of songs at our fingertips.
As of 2019, there are ~1.2 billion people using paid music subscriptions of streaming services, but much of our time on Spotify, Apple Music, and the likes is spent listening alone — or thanks to headphones, listening alone in a crowd. One thing these platforms all have in common is their algorithmic recommendations that use past listening habits of their users to work out their music preferences.
Right from fighting for the aux cable during road trips to queueing the next song at a house party, music has always been intrinsically social. In fact, one’s taste in music is often considered to be brag-worthy, especially how metalheads prefer to sport band tees. Being able to click on someone’s music and play it is a great experience, but knowing that you helped a friend discover something new and that you have the same taste in music, is even better.
A study conducted by MusicWatch shows that 90% of social media users take part in some form of music or artist-related activity on social platforms. Two-thirds of social media users agree that they discover new artists on social media, and nearly 60% are visiting online streaming services/ platforms to listen to music after they see an update, tweet, or post.
Today, we are all spoilt by choice, but constrained by time.
On one hand, the core product of the streaming market is unlimited, seamless access to all music in the world. Sure, none of the streaming catalogs are actually complete — but the point is that 99% of the users won’t ever have to look for music outside of their streaming service of choice. Having said that, the music streaming market is fragmented with services like Spotify (35%), Apple Music (20%), YouTube Music (10%), and their rivals competing for market share.
On the other hand, our time is limited. As a matter of fact, one-third of all songs played on Spotify are skipped within the first 30 seconds of listening, according to a new study carried out via music analysis company The Echo Nest. If a song fails to impress you within the first couple of seconds, the chances are you won’t end up listening to the remainder of the track.
Discover conveniently -
Algorithmic recommendations are a dime a dozen in this age and go no further than “here’s another song that sounds extremely similar to the song you just listened to”. While music libraries are great to listen to, they lack compelling social features.
Share convincingly -
Social networks serve well for sharing Spotify/YouTube links, but provide a mediocre listening experience. Platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook are fundamentally not designed for audio consumption. This probably explains why no one heeded your song recommendations on those countless WhatsApp/Instagram chats and groups.
The importance of curating the most powerful moments from a song that you dig, cannot be stressed enough. In this attention economy, the ability to impress someone with a music recommendation begins with a banger of a solo, a magical beat drop, a technically sound riff, or a catchy chorus can lead to serendipitous ways of discovering music. In a post-news-feed world, people are more comfortable sharing more of their lives with their friends. Music is the next shareable frontier.
It’s an exciting time to be playing in this space and we are thrilled by the innovation that comes around the corner on an almost daily basis.