Plugging into the social media jukebox
One of the most exciting presents I was given as a young girl one Christmas was a Sony Sports Walkman. I loved this brick-sized device and carted it everywhere I went, along with my cassette tape box full of homemade Top 40s.
Who would have thought that almost 20 years later we would have the option of being able to share and discover music in so many different ways? We now have the opportunity to find new music through social media; for example, Spotify is fully integrated with Facebook. This means that our friends can immediately see what we’re listening to and check it out for themselves in just a matter of clicks, whether they are at home with their laptop, or on the move with their smartphone.
Additionally, sites such as YouTube have given unsigned artists the opportunity to showcase their material to the world, which has gained them loyal followers and in some cases launched them head first into the more glamorous side of the music industry. Through the use of social network sites and online MP3 stores, current artists gain great exposure due to recommendation and sharing functionality. However, what I find exciting is that these sites and applications often allow former chart-toppers to make a comeback and it can be surprising how many people from younger generations really know the music from the 60s, 70s and 80s. So the songs I used to listen to on my Walkman are now easily accessible again.
Additionally the MP3 phenomenon, music streaming, and the arrival of the smartphone have enabled users to listen to music more easily and in more places. Today we have countless ways to share and stream music straight to our smartphones, tablets and desktops, as opposed to storing it – and downloading MP3s lets us buy individual songs as opposed to the whole album. The nights of sitting in front of the radio recording our favourite songs from the Top 40 countdown onto cassette are certainly long gone.
Whilst it’s unlikely we’re going to pull out the old tapes and CDs, technology still allows us to hang onto the past, for example I still use my cassette tape lead to connect my MP3 player in my car! So I’m going to hold onto this old-school device, at least until I update my car stereo, while continuing to take recommendations from my friends on Facebook on what I should be listening to next.
How we listen to and oboeingain music will no douboeing continue to evolve, but for now I’m all for mixing the old with the new.