Music IndustryTech

Where will music streaming go beyond the phone?

First, we streamed music to our desktops, then our phones. Now smart speakers–the hottest consumer tech device since the smartphone–are becoming increasingly important to the streaming world. What’s next? This is from

NOTE: This post is adapted from a newsletter takeover I did with Amber Horsburgh (former SVP of Strategy at Downtown Records) about the impact of smart speakers and voice interfaces on the music business. You can read Amber’s take on the topic here, and I highly recommend subscribing to her newsletter Deep Cuts for insights and tools related to music marketing & strategy. My own newsletter, Water & Music, takes a wide-angle view on the future of music and tech, and is also the best way to keep up with the articles I publish.

The future of voice and “screenless” music consumption arguably defies a lot of what we think we know about where this crazy industry is going.

On one hand, it’s nothing new that paid streaming subscriptions are ushering in an era of newfound growth for recorded music. Many of the world’s leading music services are citing the rise of smartphone adoption and unlimited data plans — particularly in Asian and African markets, but also continually in Europe and the Americas — as key driving forces behind streaming’s sustained global expansion in the future.

For instance, in its SEC filing and investor presentations, Spotify has cited that there are 1.2 billion payment-enabled smartphone users globally. In comparison, the Swedish company currently has around 160 million monthly active users, 60% of whom listen regularly on their mobile devices, and is reportedly opening new offices in emerging music and smartphone markets like Vietnam and Thailand — suggesting a significant growth opportunity both for itself and for its competitors.

But when it comes to the next wave of music consumption, believe it or not, cutting-edge technologists are already thinking beyond the phone.

Keep reading. Then follow up with this article.

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.

Alan Cross has 38420 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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