photo credit: turkletom
These days, we’re all purchasing or listening to music via some digital music service. Whether it is iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, or any other of the many services available, music lovers have found their favorite way to consume music in the digital world. Gotta love that phrase… “consume music.” The sound quality may be up for debate, but who can deny the convenience and portability that digitized music offers us.
But there are a few things that the current state of these music services doesn’t offer us. Things that LPs, cassettes, and CDs included in the package. For one, we don’t get a list of the personnel on the album. The producer, band members, engineer, art director (if artwork is still available), even management. In addition, we have lost the lyrics, special thanks and any other special message the musicians wanted to share with their adoring public.
Why have these things been lost in the translation to digital? Isn’t anybody interested in this stuff anymore? Well, at least for one group, it is a big concern. The members of NARAs (The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) have joined a growing movement to give credit to the many fine people involved in creating the music. So at least we know someone is paying attention. But I have a little trouble believing that the music services haven’t realized the value of this information. Anything that makes me linger longer on your site/app helps your business. And this information can’t be difficult to source. With the data mining capabilities of the internet, the information is out there. Just find an elegant way to display it.
So what would we like to see for the next generation of digital music services? First, give me the personnel involved in the recording. Producers, band members and additional musicians, engineers, recording dates… all the stuff that was available on LPs and CDs. And of course add the lyrics, special thanks, endorsement connections (i.e. Phil Collins plays Sabian Cymbals), and so forth. Then give me the information that wasn’t possible on physical mediums. Release dates, chart dates, awards, units sold, tour dates. All the stuff that is ongoing and dynamic. I’ll bet dance music and workout fanatics would love to know beats per minute.
And what about visuals. When I listen at home, I sometimes have a slide show of my personal pictures playing on the screen. Take this to the next step, a slide show of photos from in studio sessions, concert tour photos, or hell, even the video. At least make it an option. Now, give me the ability to search using these terms. Let me find other material produced by this same producer and create a playlist. Or search for a band member’s side project. Maybe the singer wrote a book or had a film role I’d like to know about. If I am listening to Queen, let me know that their music is featured in the movies Flash Gordon and Highlander. Or that lead guitarist Brian May is an astrophysicist.
Sure this stuff would be like the commentary track on Blu-Rays and DVDs. Only a handful of people will be interested in it. But those handful of people will be spending time and money on your site. Eyes and ears for your advertisers. And if you want to set yourself apart from the competition, here is a way to stand out.
Come on. How hard can this be in the digital world? The information age? We are humans. We like to connect dots. Discover similarities, go on a savager hunt. Give me something more to connect with the music. Because I am sick of consuming it.