How is voice activation affecting the music industry? Glad you asked.

The hottest new consumer electronics gadget is the smart speaker, a device that is activated by voice commands. Google Home/Mini, speakers powered by Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s HomePod plus upcoming units from Samsung and Facebook are having an impact on how people listen to music. goes deeper into what all these could mean for the music industry.

If 2017 was the year of the voice, this year sees the music industry finding new ways to embrace and cash in on voice-controlled technology.

The immediate result was that it increased the amount of people who began streaming.

Those on the outer because they found the whole process of streaming too bewildering could bypass it by asking personal assistants as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri.

Tech savvy consumers used it for another reason: one study found that 43% reckoned that voice search is quicker than using a website or an app.

A January 2018 survey from Adobe Analytics found that 54% of those with personal assistants used them once a day – and listening to music was the most popular activity (61%).

In comparison, other uses of these devices were to ask about the weather (60%), fun questions (54%), general research (53%), getting directions (39%), alarms/reminders (39%) and shopping (22%).

That’s pretty significant given that there are 39 million smart speakers in the USA alone.

Pandora CEO Roger Lynch told CES conference in January that Pandora listening on voice enabled devices was up 300% year on year.

Google says its Assistant is now available on 400 million devices.

By January this year, there were 1 billion voice searches a month.

So given that music’s on top of the user-list, it’s not surprising that the music industry is moving into voice-controlled technology hardware.

Spotify, which has been is secretly working on a device that will “affect the way the world experiences music and talk content”, this week began testing a new app which suggested an integration with smart speaker devices.

At South By Southwest (SXSW) this week, one of the main points of discussion was that the music industry needed to capitalise on growing consumers’ need for voice technology.

This was by getting serious about megadata.

Keep going.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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