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How Smart Speakers Increase The Artist and Fan Divide

image from cdn.pixabay.com"Alexa (Siri, Google) play __________." With tens of millions of song requests being processed daily, what fills that blank matters. "Play That Funky Music" will net you the Wild Cherry hit. Hear that song once and you know the title.

But while "Counting Blue Cars" may have been a big hit for Dishwalla and notched 8.8 million views on YouTube, those three words appear nowhere in the song, much less the chorus. How many more spins would the song still be getting if the song had been titled differently?

Lucian Grainge

"Our experience is people can't ask for a song when they don't know what title is," said UMG CEO and Chairman Lucien Grainge speaking of growing smart speaker use. "If you've got something that is a brand, is a soundtrack, is a song where the title is in the chorus and the melodies, we're seeing really explosive data and activity. That helps us in the creative process because it enables us, with the data and with consumption, to use the technology to say to the talent, you need to have something as basic as the song title [...] in the chorus."

Disconnecting Fans From The Artists

The music industry is in the middle of a renaissance driven by streaming music. But, as discussed on the latest Music Biz Weekly podcast, if that shift were measured in weeks, we are only a couple of hours into the changes that smart speakers will bring to music and the music industry. 

The connection between fan and artist becomes even more tenuous when the music is being delivered by voice command and without having to look at a screen that reminds you of the band's name and provides information and context. How often have you listened to your Spotify "Release Radar" playlist and not known the artists behind many of the tracks you had just listened to?

If  Spotify wants to empower "a million creators to earn a living making music," an option to have a voice tell me what I'm listening to, may be in order.

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