Meredith Chin: Transforming Music Through Social Design

The landscape of the music industry has changed dramatically over the last decade, but one thing has remained constant — music is better when shared with friends.

The musicians and organizations who harness this concept and take it online will be the most successful as we reach this next important inflection point for the industry. The music and technology industries need to begin to speak the same language.

Social first.

Similar to games, shopping and travel planning, music is inherently social. Every experience that happens with friends in the offline world should be facilitated online by integrating with the social graph to make it easy for people to share the experience with friends. From going to concerts to singing along to the radio with your friends to creating and sharing playlists, music brings people together. The next wave of technology is transforming music yet again through social design.

Most people believe change within the music industry has come because of accessibility of music or an artists’ ability to directly connect with fans on a massive scale. But this goes beyond just having a Facebook Page or a Twitter account. Those are just the first steps. The next frontier belongs to people building music experiences and apps that begin, not end, with “social.”

Keep it simple.

A personal experience comes from a Lady Gaga show I recently attended in which I simply checked into the arena and found friends who were also there. Literally with the touch of a button I was connected to the friends around me. Meanwhile, two girls sitting behind me were yelling on their phones trying to locate their friends. I couldn’t help but think how much easier and social my experience was compared to theirs.

That new way didn’t start with asking the question, “How do we create ways for music fans to connect with each other at concerts?” It started with “How do we build something that lets people share where they are and who they’re with?” The idea is to keep it simple and social.

There are so many opportunities now to help transform even more music experiences. Concert ticketing, music festivals, even radio can be reinvigorated through the power of social technologies. Music enthusiasts and those within the industry need to continue to ask, “How can I incorporate my friends into this experience?”

We’ve only just scratched the surface of online. With social platforms that now enable authentic connections between individual artists and their fans, we’re on the verge of fulfilling the promise of the music industry online.

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