The Next Big Genre in Music? The Internet of Things
FEBRUARY 9, 2016 • Blog Post • By Todd Wasserman, HPE Matter Contributor
IN THIS ARTICLE
- Listeners today have more choices than ever thanks to Internet of Things technology in smart homes
- In the near future, cloud-based services will learn your taste and mood in order to play just the right song at the right time
How tech can turn your kitchen into an auditorium
For a music fan, this is a great time to be alive. You can get pretty much every song you’d ever want on Spotify for $9.99 a month and have it automatically play in any room in your house on wireless Sonos speakers. Step into your car and you can continue listening via 28 speakers replete with a vibrating seat to boost your bass.
Or you could put a vinyl record on a turntable like you might have in 1978. Your choice.
If youre like most consumers, convenience trumps sound quality. And things are getting more convenient by the minute.
Music in the kitchen
For instance, have you ever noticed that cooking can go from drudgery to artistic self-expression by adding some background music? (Wine also helps.) Yet who thinks to wire their kitchen for this?
That’s the thinking behind Triby, which is basically a large refrigerator magnet with a 2.9-inch display that lets you stream music from your phone via a Bluetooth connection. At this year’s CES, Triby’s owner, Invoxia, added another perk: Amazon Alexa voice services. That integration, which starts this spring, will let consumers talk directly to the device rather than pairing it with their smartphones. Since the device is also linked with Spotify, you can tell Triby to call up that Tame Impala album while you prepare your mushroom risotto.
In a twist on the idea, Samsung also displayed a Family Hub smart refrigerator at this year’s CES that includes built-in speakers that allow you to stream music.
Taking it one step further, some imagine a smart audio system that recognizes you when you come home and starts playing your favorite jazz album. Such cloud-connected systems take the smartphone out of the equation. Multi-room solutions like Samsung’s Shape speaker systems stream wirelessly without the use of a phone or a computer.
While most music fans are reasonably content with the sound they get from streaming Spotify and Pandora, some bemoan the loss of fidelity that has come with the digital age. This has led to a surge in vinyl record sales, but also a renewed focus on improving digital music quality.
At this year’s CES, Sony, JVC, Pioneer and others displayed so-called high-res audio systems. What is high-res audio? While this is a case where you don’t truly know the difference until you hear it, the Digital Entertainment Group, the Consumer Electronics Association and the Recording Academy have all agreedon the following definition: “lossless audio that is capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better than CD quality music sources.”
There are a few things holding high-res audio back. The pricing is pretty high, or at least it used to be. When it hit the market in 2014, Sony’s high-res Walkman was $700. Now it’s $300. Pono, a high-res audio player backed by musician Neil Young, goes for $399.
A high price to pay when some people claim to not hear any difference between high-res audio and CDs.
The best of times?
All of this means that music lovers have more choices than ever and that surrounding yourself with music has never been easier. Ideally, cloud-based services will become so adept at learning your tastes that they’ll not only suggest new music for you, but read your mood and dial up just the right song at the right time.
That’s the vision, at least. For some, that sounds more creepy than comforting, which is perhaps why many are deciding that vinyl never looked so good.