In the past couple of years, almost every music streaming service has tried to advertise itself one way or another as a platform for new and small performs and has claimed to work for the artists where they can become as successful as possible. In most of the cases, these words and claims have just been considered as baseless propaganda, but Eric Schmidt, the Google’s CEO believes that the future will be drastically different regarding who controls what songs become hits those that don’t. In a lengthy and detailed piece for BBC, the CEO discussed a number of topics, which also included music.
The head of the search engine giant dissed Apple Music, the iPhone maker’s music streaming service, subtly, when he came around to the topic of music. He stated that almost a decade ago, you had to hire some elite tastemakers if you wanted to open a digital music service as they would have chosen the hottest songs. There is no denying that this statement was directed at Apple Music, which is not offering anything much different from the other music streaming services found in the market these days. The concept of artist-curated playlists has been played with over and over again, but it was abandoned by the likes of Tidal and Spotify as consumers don’t really seem to care.
In addition, these tastemakers aren’t really bringing anything different or new to the table. The only way a new artist is ‘introduced’ is through airplay of an opening act on a huge tour. Otherwise, Schmidt says that new sounds and young bands are discovered in what he believes is the future approach. He believes it is much more democratic to rely on what users think as a whole rather than depending on a handful of the elitist as everyone can use their collective tastes for discovering a new star instead of the preferences and choices of a select few.
This approach has already worked in wonderful ways and the biggest example is that overwhelming success that Psy enjoyed with his song ‘Gangnam Style’. The song wasn’t pushed by any companies or DJ and simply went viral on YouTube. The public just fell in love with it and the rest, as they say, is history. This sort of music discovery is much more possible via local radio stations or services such as SoundCloud as they are seeking music outside of the major music streaming platforms and attempt to uncover exciting and exceptional music in a number of places instead of just a chosen few.
Even though Schmidt’s discussion on music is a direct shot on its competitor, his argument comes off as valid. This glaring reality needs to be accepted by music streaming platforms like Apple Music and they should give exciting and original music the chance to be heard by huge audiences. Apple Music was launched in June and is available for free for three months. The success of the service will be measured after the three months are up.