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ARIA Awards Masterclass: How technology is impacting the music industry

Tech and Innovation Entertainment

Posted on November 28, 2017

2 min read

Music is an integral part of connecting people in the digital world. That is why this year at the ARIA awards we are the technology partner. As part of our partnership, ARIA invited the leading voices in music technology in Australia to our Sydney Customer Insights Centre, to discuss how technology is disrupting the future of the music industry.

For the first time in a long time, the Australian Music Industry is in a growth period. Since the early 2000s and the rise of MP3s, the industry had struggled to control pirating and create a model which would both meet the appetite of listeners, and continue to support artists.

Telstra has been an advocate for legal digital music access, with the launch of the MOG music streaming service back in 2012, and has since partnered with Apple Music to provide extended Apple Music trials to our customers.

According to ARIA CEO Dan Rosen, 2017 has seen a 10% growth in the Australian Music Industry, the largest since the early 2000s. Fuelled by technology, Dan says modern measures of success including the amount of international royalties accrued by ARIA have risen by 13%, the third straight year of double-digit growth.

Another interesting fact raised during the ARIA Masterclass was that most of Australia’s most successful artists now make between 70 and 80% of their revenue outside of Australia, where streaming and globalisation has brought fans closer than ever before.

The on-demand generation has long demanded to be able to listen to music whenever they like, which has driven the rise of music streaming. At the forefront of this new wave, is Apple Music’s Creative Director and Head of Beats1 Radio, Zane Lowe.

A long-time host of BBC One in London, Zane’s transition from traditional radio to Apple music’s Beats 1 24/7 streaming service is a paradigm for the changing landscape of the music industry. At the heart of Zane’s keynote speech from the workshop was progress, summed up by his quote, “You can’t get in the way of change, you need to embrace it and the impact on the music industry.”

Here are four themes that inspired us from the masterclass:

1.Music and command voice 

It’s hard to believe the smartphone is only 10 years old, but also harder to fathom just how far smart speakers have come in the last year alone.

In 2018, Australians will continue to transform their homes with Smart Home technology. In its short life span, the “play music” command has been used three times as much as any other, according to Renee Askew from Sonos. Amongst all its capabilities, bringing people together with music remains the smart speaker’s most powerful functions, which will only continue to increase the amount of music streamed and consumed in the future.

Command voice isn’t limited to smart speakers in the home. As MP3 players did, new playback devices will continue to shape the music industry. Voice can be used to access the latest hits and your old favourites in the car and even via your watch! The release of the Apple Watch Series 3 and Telstra One Number, allows eligible Telstra customers with an Apple Music membership, to leave their phone at home and stream Apple Music on demand to their Bluetooth headsets, from their Apple Watch.

2. AI will open up the creation marketplace

AI (Artificial intelligence) refers to intelligence displayed by machines and incorporates a range of technologies – everything from robots to search algorithms.

Stephen Phillips the CEO of Popgun said, “The music distribution space has played out and the key players have emerged. The creation space is still evolving and this is where AI will have the biggest impact in the coming years.” We could see a marketplace where more people are able to create music which will be assisted by machine learning.

With the increased appetite of music streamers, discovering new music well beyond the billboard top 100 lists will soon become the norm.

3. AI inspiring the “new” synthesiser

The electronic evolution of music in the 1980s was about making music easier to produce than ever before. Modern synthesisers are capable of replicating thousands of instruments and sounds, and we’re not far away from this extending to the human voice.

Once again, spurred on by AI, machines will soon be able to record, learn and replicate human voices. The technology will be able to predict how a voice is likely to pronounce any word in the English language, meaning computers can make anyone sing. Even old recordings of artists like Michael Jackson may be able to be analysed, meaning the King of Pop may still be able to produce new music. With technology like this, the possibilities really are endless.

4. Data accreditation: credit where credit is due

In the digital age, crediting content creators has never been more important. Technology ensures what’s popular in our backyard is soon amplified to billions around the globe. To help ensure musicians and artists are properly credited for their work, people like Jacqui Louez Schoorl have created technologies like Jaxsta. Jaxsta is a “digital record sleeve” which allows everyone who worked on a record, be it a bass player adding some bass to chorus or the audio engineer who masters the record, to be properly recognised for their work.

While the “digital CV” that this creates is one advantage, at its heart it is about discovery. So many facets come together to make the music we know and love, and looking beyond the artist will allow listeners to discover music in an entirely different way. Crediting music will enable more advanced smart speakers and AI driven technologies of the future.