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Monday, March 16, 2015

Will The Apple Watch Give A Boost To The Music Industry?


Written by Bobby Owsinski -- The tech world is abuzz today with the official unveiling of the Apple AAPL +0.8% Watch, but the music business can look upon it as a possible boon as well. The Apple Watch, which can be considered either a utilitarian or luxury item, appears to do many things well, and by the looks of it, music is one of them.

The music business has always produced plenty of music that customers want, but it’s been new delivery methods that have led to increased sales. The industry has historically turned on a dime with new technology that offers greater convenience.

For example, in the late 1800s, there was a healthy business built around sheet music and piano rolls, but when the Victrola was introduced in 1901, music lovers discovered a new portability along with the ability to hear their favorite artist any time they wanted. That’s when the music industry as we know it today was born.

Those original records were made of shellac, which were very brittle and prone to breakage, but the industry once again experienced a bump in revenue when the vinyl record was introduced. Vinyl was thinner, lighter and didn’t break as easily. Convenience won again.

The 1960s saw the introduction of the 8-track cartridge and then the cassette, which meant that portability was again improved. Of course when the CD was introduced in the 1983, its random access was yet another big step in convenience, as the user no longer had to fast forward and rewind the tape to get to the desired song.

Digital music debuted in 1995 with the MP3, which took portability to another level, while streaming now has become the ultimate in convenience as you can access millions of songs anytime and anywhere.

While the world continues to discover the convenience of streaming music, the Apple Watch comes at the perfect time, with the ability to make streaming even easier than it already is.

Until now you had to access the songs that you wanted via your phone or your desktop. While more convenient than what came before, it still requires that you use at least one of your hands plus your full attention to access the song that you want.

With the Apple Watch, this can be done with the flick of a finger or a voice command, which means faster and easier song access, which is yet another step up on the convenience ladder.

As history shows us, anything that makes accessing music easier has proven to be a boon to the music industry. The Apple Watch will go hand in hand with the industry’s continued shift to streaming delivery. It offers enough features to make millions of people want to buy one without it having to be a fashion accessory (although it clearly can be that as well), and it’s only a matter of time until its users discover the ease at which they can access the music they love.

While artists continue to complain about the low royalties received from streaming services (which requires a post all by itself), anything that makes the pie larger can only be good for everyone involved in the business. The Apple Watch could go a long way to making that happen.

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