If you grew up in the late 80s and 90s you remember how popular the Walkman was. I can still remember how excited I was when I snuck in and found out my aunt and uncle had bought me my very own Walkman for Christmas. I was so happy that I was going to be able to play the tapes that I had personally recorded on my grandparents radio from my favorite old school rap, oldies, and country music stations. Granted they were just clips as I never caught my favorite songs in time, but it was still exciting! When I was in middle school I bought my first CD player and while in college it was amazing to be able to stream music on my cell phone! Can you believe how far we’ve come in such a short period of time? It was only a few years ago that we had to actually drive to a store to buy a CD, these days we can stream music straight from our smartphones.
There are so many amazing new apps for listening to our favorite band, singer or song, but it can cost a ton of money to stream music on your phone if you don’t have the right plan. Billboard’s Depuity Editor Yinka Adegoke joined me for an interview recently to dish on the best ways to stream music to save you money, Beyonce and Jay Z’s summer music tour, Iggy Azalea, the top song of summer, how music has evolved over the years and the way we access it, and much more!
Candace Rose: What does the merge of music and technology mean for consumers?
Yinka Adegoke: “Well, music and technology have never ever been apart. We talk about this like it’s a new thing – if you think about some of the devices right behind me (please see video for details) they’ve been around for 60/70 years, going back to the vinyl, the 8-track, more recently the boombox and transistor radio and the Sony Walkman which just turned 35 years old. We’ve always needed technology to enjoy music, but a lot of these devices were at a time when music had to live on a physical format.
If you think about your vinyl records and your CDs (your compact discs), it evolved to us having music downloads, right? We could download all the songs we wanted onto our computer and then we could move them onto our phones, which was kind of cool. Where we are now, though is we can stream music. We don’t have to have the music sit on our phones or sit on our computers, we can just stream the music we want when we want it. The number one device for doing that and the number one thing people do that on is obviously their mobile phones, the device they take wherever they go.”
Candace Rose: How has streaming music changed over the past few years and what do you think it looks like in the future?
Yinka Adegoke: “What I think is happening with streaming music is that we’re going to use more of these services like your Spotify, Rhapsody, Pandora. We love these services because they’re so convenient. The thing we don’t love about them is many times we’re nervous about what bill we might get at the end of the month when we stream a lot of music. Imagine you’re on a long trip, you don’t want to come back at the end of the month and find out you ran up a huge bill, so T-Mobile came out with this plan called the un-leash your music plan which basically allows you to play as much music as you want on those apps – Spotify, Rhapsody, Pandora – without an extra charge. They don’t charge you for the extra data for using the music, and that’s because they know music is immensely popular with Americans. 130 million Americans stream music to their mobile devices last year, and that was twice what it was the year before and it’s still growing now. That’s where we are right now with streaming, it’s growing very rapidly.”
Candace Rose: How do you think the move to provide free music streaming will impact the music industry?
Yinka Adegoke: “Not being charged extra for streaming the music means more people will play music, and this is good for the music business. The music business is very excited about this because they’re going to get played every time the music is played. What is happening here is I’m not getting charged as a consumer for the data I use for playing the music. If I’m a music label, I like this because I know more consumers will play more music. And the more consumers play more music, I get more money, so it’s good for them.
Also, what these companies do is they try and make it more convenient for you as possible. Rhapsody has this unRadio service and what that does basically is they make radio stations that are not quite like traditional radio stations, but play the music that you want when you want. You create the channels and then you sit back and let it do its thing, which is as convenient as possible for you.”
Candace Rose: Do you feel that there’s one device that’s better than another for streaming music?
Yinka Adegoke: “No, not necessarily, but here’s the thing about devices – many of these devices are great, but what you really want to do is try things out. T-Mobile looked at this and they thought we’re going to make it easy for people to go into a T-Mobile store and take a test drive with the iPhone 5S and try it out for seven days with no charge. That’s kind of where things are right now where all these devices are pretty good. Technology has evolved so rapidly that you just need to try it out for yourself to get a good feel for it.”
Candace Rose: What is the music trend or event that you’re most anticipating this summer?
Yinka Adegoke: “The event I’m looking forward to the most is probably the Beyonce Jay Z tour, which is happening this summer. The On The Run tour is going to be huge. There’s a lot of excitement. It kicked off in Miami and that’s going to be a big one.”
Candace Rose: There’s always one song and/or one band that we listen to nonstop during the summer. Who is that going to be for summer 2014?
Yinka Adegoke: “I think it’s going to be Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy’. It’s number one on the Hot 100 Charts and I think it’s just going to rule the summer. I think she’s going to rule the summer. She’s a rapper from Australia, which is typically not what you get out of Australia. She’s very talented and she also features on the number two song with Ariana Grande.”
Candace Rose: Do you think we’ll ever return to the old school way of buying music where you have to drive somewhere to buy it?
Yinka Adegoke: “No. I think there will always be people who collect for instance CDs and vinyl. Some people who may find it more convenient to listen to music that way for now. It’s never going to be a big part of the business in the long term. Streaming, in particularly on the phones, which everybody has a phone will be the most common popular way of people listening and sharing music.”
Candace Rose: What do you use to listen to your music?
Yinka Adegoke: “I use my phone. I commute a lot and I listen to a variety of music apps on my mobile device.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
Yinka Adegoke: “If you want to find out more about T-Mobile’s services go to TMobile.com. If you want to find out anything about music, the charts, you should go to Billboard.com. If you want to learn about how music and digital technology are working together, you can follow me on Twitter – @YinkaWrites on Twitter.”