Music and technology has long been intertwined; without technology, music would never be what it is today. Starting with the incredible creation that changed the world as we know it; the Stereo Belt (click here to see the timeline of portable, personal music). Having access to portable personal music at all times made the music business boom. Suddenly everyone was wandering round with head phones on (notice ‘on’ not ‘in’!) and more and more singers and bands started coming out of the woodwork. And it’s only gone from strength to strength since then.
“Dave Mustaine used the web to reach out to his fans—but that brought its own complications. When he first ventured into his site’s chatroom, none of the fans believed he was who he said he was. Once they realized it was him, they wouldn’t leave him alone.” —Rolling Stones
Back in the early 90’s when the first music website was created – Megadeth Arizona – along with it came the first ‘chatrooms’, where fans could talk to other fans AND to band members, ‘digital postcards’ were invented, giving fans an opportunity to send a postcard to a friend. Goodbye print marketing, hello digital! Both the idea and execution of a chatroom and the ‘digital postcard’ gave birth to the idea of social media. A place where people of similar interests could come together and interact with one another. Genius! The Megadeth website opened the doors to all different kinds of businesses – not just music. When the site hit mainstream, it got the attention of Starbucks CEO, Howard Shultz, who was excited by the idea of screen savers – Capitol Records, who had been instrumental in the Megadeth website, came up with the idea of putting wings on Starbucks coffee bags and making them fly.
Given Will.i.am’s background, it makes sense that his new AI works best with music. It features an unlimited streaming service with a library of more than 20 million songs. At your command, it will find songs, add them to playlists, book tickets to shows and find the latest news about your favourite artists. It’s difficult to forget that Will.i.am is also one of the founding investors of ‘Beats Headphones’ and was instrumental in its inception and success. But this isn’t all about our favourite Black Eyed Pea, it’s about music and technology.
In more modern times, Will.i.am’s tech start-up, I.am+, announced on 10th July this year, that it is entering into the world of AI – artificial intelligence – with a new voice assistant for powering customer service bots. Called ‘Omega’ and described as being similar to Amazons Alexa and Apple’s Siri, the AI tool marks the departure for the 5-year-old company, which has primarily focused on consumer products like wireless headphones.
But before you think that technology did all the work in making music what it is today, consider that it might actually have been music that helped tech get where it is.
So, today, we’re all donning our band tee’s remembering that without tech and without music, we wouldn’t all be here today. Well, we might be, but with one of these…
This article was written whilst listening to:
BBC Radio 6