Like millions of people around the globe who have no interest in American football, I found myself drawn to the world of Super Bowl TV commercials. As you would expect, I wasn't able to avoid seeing the Ellen DeGeneres fronted ad for Beats Music. Something about this commercial got me thinking about the way in which some digital services make consumers jump through hoops before giving them what they want.
With Beats Music I have to say where I am, who I'm with and what mood I'm in before I can start my listening.. This sounds like a lot of hassle to get to the music I want to listen to. Why can't I get to it with a single click?
The simplest way for consumers to access music, the one we've all grown up with, is radio - and the beauty behind radio lies with its ease: all you have to do is to turn it on (and maybe turn the dial).Now though, the modern world has us listening to music on our phones more than any other device - which is fantastic as in theory, it's easy and accessible for consumers. So why in this day and age, where convenience is paramount, do we need to make the use of radio on our phones so complex? Why can't we have just one button that says PLAY?
Right now we are celebrating 10 years of Facebook in our lives and are able to reflect over all the changes that have taken place in that time. Beats Music is the latest post on the timeline of music streaming which makes me wonder: where is this market going? Is a new entrant to the market going to cause us to re-hash the regular argument about free vs. paid-for services? Because that would be quite boring and frankly consumers will decide the long-term fate of services.
Music is something we all need in our lives. Whether it's for relaxation, concentration, nostalgia or just pure fun. You need it, I need it and Ellen needs it. Mood is an incredibly important factor in what kind of music we like to listen to. Music is also social and it's great if your music service can take into account where you are and who are you with. So, without a doubt, Beats Music is onto something. It's just a shame there are still so many steps to it.
In markets around the world, the primary platform for listening to music is through mobile devices, particularly smartphones. These devices, packed with the latest technology, should be able to provide consumers with personalized, and contextually relevant, music selection without having to ask so many questions (as seen with Beats Music). We live in a society with a diminishing attention span; we want instantaneous results with the least work possible. A single button that immediately plays the music you want, regardless of where you are or what you're doing is the ideal.
Radio station audiences are declining and unfortunately, this means an increased level of complex and unnecessary technical steps for many listeners. But what audiences love most about radio, its simplicity, still remains. So why would we not be able to get the best of both worlds: a service that is as simple to use as the traditional FM radio, yet as sophisticated and personalized as the best modern streaming radio? And what if the service was smart enough to adjust the playlist to your current environment automatically? It would be like having a customized soundtrack to your life.