Music Streaming 2.0

Did you ever have a “music friend”?

The friend who always had their headphones on at school. The friend that would often share their music with you, and would tell you what was cool.

I was one of those friends. In our group, I was one of the go-to persons for the latest music and playlists.

Whenever my mother had people over for dinner, she would ask me to sort out a playlist for the evening. Often halfway through the meal, she would tell me to change the vibe and by the time we were having dessert, I would find myself moving the music in another direction once again.

Whenever one of my friends threw a house party, I would be asked to bring over my music collection and vet music our other friends would bring to the party, to ensure we had some kind of consistency throughout the night.

Last week, when I asked a group of friends whether they all had a “music friend” growing up, it was clear they did, some even had the “music relative” — the cool uncle or the mother that was the tastemaker.

These friends or relatives were your source for good music and they were quite influential. You trusted their opinion and somehow when it came to music they always knew what YOU liked.

It was thanks to a “music friend” of mine, that I discovered “The Roots” when I was 13. Another friend would give me mixtapes and say “ These tracks are you”. They would be filled with all kinds of genres and random artists. It was my very own (very early) version of Discover Weekly — the selection was crazy but yet so perfect and its where I discovered “NuYorican Soul” for the first time— music that has inspired and stayed with me throughout my life.

So what happens today, when these friends are no longer around and we rely on music streaming services to fill that void? How do we get that same level of trust and understanding from an algorithm or a curator that doesn’t know us or understand what makes us tick (musically speaking)? How do you get that same considered and personal touch?

Imagine Pandora’s Genome Project and Spotify’s Discover Weekly both on steroids, now combine the two and then add your trusted “music friend” to the equation.

A service that knows how to connect songs together to form a unified journey, an algorithm that learns from you with every interaction. A “friend” that can change the pace of your playlist when you need it and will show you new music you will instantly love.

Does this sound too far fetched?

Not at all, but we need to stop thinking that the ultimate music experience will happen by simply pressing play without any further interactions.

There are so many little personal nuances to consider, that a service needs to understand you and what makes you tick (musically speaking). This can never happen if it is a one sided conversation (press play and skip). A great experience, requires interaction. Like your friend — We need to learn about you, what music you like, when you like it, and understand when it needs to be changed (thinking back to the dinner party example above).

How awesome does that sound?

Music Streaming 2.0 is happening today and I for one, am very excited to see where we can take it.

Let Muru be your new music friend.