I’m a self confessed technophile; from the early days of Siri & Cortana to virtual reality and 360 recording, I love the intelligent ways that technology can improve the consumer experience and even create new ones. So, I get really excited when I come across something that does this without me ever realising I needed it.
Enter the BBC Music revamp. BBC radio is an excellent place to hear interviews, live sessions and more from artists you know and love but it’s also an incredible resource for exposing yourself to new music. Seriously though, how many times have you heard a track on the radio, scrambled to Shazam it before getting the ‘We didn’t quite catch that.’ message? The BBC music app has completely revolutionised that for me. The BBC have been working with consultancy Deloitte Digital over the last few years on a host of really impressive things focused on creating a personalised experience for the digital user and, as part of that, made some changes to how their music is consumed. Let’s start with the iPlayer Radio app: from here you’re able to listen to, view the schedule of and hear all of the best mixes, sessions and clips from all of the BBC radio stations from your phone. Live or downloaded. You can save favourites and filter by genre – it’s superbly designed. Ok, so we’ve got the iPlayer radio app, the other half of this is the BBC music app; this is where you can store and share everything you hear and enjoy from the radio (a listening session of Radiohead’s full album is available on there at the moment!). It’ll then use that information to recommend relevant content, another great way of discovering new artists.
Now here comes the magic.
The iPlayer app shows you the track that’s currently playing on that station and there’s a button, an incredibly special button, that allows you to save that track to your BBC music app: so no more scrambling for Shazam as you’re cruising down the motorway! But it gets better… The BBC music app can then export all of the tracks you’ve saved to the listening platform of your choice, straight to a playlist on YouTube or a music streaming service in a beautifully seamless experience. Big up the BBC.
I mentioned new consumer experiences didn’t I? SXSW (South by Southwest) is an annual wonder in Austin Texas that showcases convergences of independent film, music and technology; this year they had an installation that brought recorded music back to life. I almost laugh when I write that because you hear it so often, but this installation was a truly interactive piece of recorded music by Grammy – nominee Andre Anjos of RAC. Guests at SXSW ’16 were able to collaborate with each other on a five person deck of instruments that didn’t play individual sounds but instead influenced each other to alter the feel, notes and direction of the piece in real time. You can see it fully explained and in action below.
Technology is still evolving at a rapid pace and whilst a lot of it will remain at exhibitions such as SXSW, I’ll be happy to keep seeing my day to day experiences with music improving at the rate they are. Word on the grapevine is retailers and leisure venues are already beginning to implement ways for customers to interact live with the music at their sites – watch this space.