What is the future of listening to music

Music - This is how we will listen to music in the future

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The development of technology can hardly be predicted in the long term. The list of false prophecies is long - also with regard to the future of music. We therefore do not dare to make our own predictions, but rather look at what others believe.

Author: Jürg Tschirren, SRF Digital

"The wireless jukebox has no conceivable commercial value," said a manager at the US electronics manufacturer RCA in the 1920s. Not quite right: radio soon became the most important entertainment medium.

It shouldn't be the only misconception about the future of listening to music. In 2003, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said streaming services would never catch on. Music wants to be owned and not just borrowed. Fast forward 15 years and Apple Music is preparing to become the largest streaming service and the USA ...

Because even the brightest minds are often wrong when it comes to technology predictions, we do not dare to make our own prophecies. Here for what others think:

  • 1. The brain-computer interface

    Music sparked straight into the brain.

    It's the classic science fiction idea: an implant connected directly to the brain that can receive music. "I believe that in the next 20, 25 years we will get to the point where we can do things without using our sensory organs, that we can go straight to the brain with brain-computer interfaces," says the notorious futurist Gerd Leonhard, for example .

    However, we are still far, far away from the technical implementation of this vision. And even if such an interface is ever possible, the question remains whether this technology will ever be accepted by the masses.

  • 2. Music in virtual reality

    Be there instead of just listening.

    The trend is already emerging: With virtual reality glasses, music should not only be heard, but actually experienced. There are also VR music videos or VR concert experiences. However, the first generation glasses do not yet have the desired resolution and are cumbersome to use.

    These teething troubles should be overcome in the next few years. And platforms like Vrtify, Link opens in a new window are already in the starting blocks to offer music experiences that go far beyond just listening to music. However, such offers will hardly become more than an additional offer on how to consume music.

  • 3. The sensor controls it

    Your body curates the playlist.

    Sensors that measure our pulse or blood pressure already exist today. In the future, even more may be possible: sensors in the body that not only evaluate our physical stress but also our mood.

    With this data, a playlist can be put together that adapts to our state of mind. Those who are happy listen to happy pop music. If you are in a bad mood, you can play your way through all The Smiths albums. Or the other way around.

  • 4. Algorithms as a musician

    Your very own soundtrack.

    Personal data will do much more than curate a playlist. Thanks to your body signals and the knowledge of your personal music preferences, you could always hear exactly the music you want to hear in the future.

    Algorithms have already learned to compose and play music themselves. The results are not yet ready for the hit parade, but some of them sound quite melodic. With advances in artificial intelligence, even more is possible: algorithms that play you spontaneously composed music that exactly fits your situation. So songs that only you can hear because they are only there for you. Something like that is called a musical filter bubble.

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