Why music discovery services fail for me

"Music discovery needs to be socia..." "ENOUGH!"Music Discovery remains a very hot topic at present, and the most notable entrant to the market of late has been Soundwave. I met their CEO at Hard Working Class Heroes in Dublin last year, and was impressed by the proposition. So, when it finally launched recently, I was all over it. In using it though, something occurred to me: an important fact which I think exposes the flaw in many of these new music apps and services.

I don’t particularly care what my friends are listening to.

Soundwave makes the same mistake that Spotify did with their Facebook firehose: I simply don’t need to know what my friends are listening to all the time, any more than I need to know what clothes they’re wearing or what apps they have running on their computers at the moment.

Here’s the thing: every music service (or feature) seems to start with a default position of involving some kind of social element. But my experience with music isn’t social most of the time; its actually highly personal. All of this got me thinking about what kind of music service I’d like to see, so I thought I’d spec it out here.

1.It must nurture and develop my relationship with music
First and foremost, any music service has to focus on my own relationship with music. I want it to surface content of interest across ALL the artists I listen to. Think about this. It would seem most music discovery services are all about the new. We all like to find new music of course, but what about the existing artists I already know and love? I want something that will find rarities I may have missed: songs, remixes, live performances… all those things that in pre-internet days I strived hard to find (often buying in bootleg form or paying over the odds for as the item was so rare). My point here is that my relationship with music does not lie solely with discovering new bands; a huge part of it is about discovering more from those bands I already like.

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Atoms for Peace quit Spotify

ImageAs you may have seen, Atoms for Peace have quit Spotify (and presumably all other streaming audio services). Rather than rewrite the story, you can read the full article from Stu Dredge on Music Ally here

What sprang from that though was an interesting few discussions around the debate, which I’ve compiled into a Storify piece. Go take a read – some great points being raised from various people in and around the music industry.