As a rapidly-expanding company – and I’m not referring to the consequences of consuming the excellent home-made ham and cheese doorsteps served up by the CEO last Friday lunchtime – we’re always looking for ways to help propel Psonar into a steady orbit above other online music service providers and my job is to help communicate these new developments, and the benefits of using the site in general, to the outside world.
This is pretty exciting and interesting for me personally. I’ve been involved in the music industry since I started writing reviews for my University magazine (I quite liked the look of the Editor and the media types always had the best parties. I subsequently took the profession seriously and have written for The Guardian and Daily Express plus dozens of magazines, newspapers and websites around the world) and it recently occurred to me that technology-based music services like Psonar, Spotify, iTunes and Last.FM are the music industry now. The labels are floundering in their wake like a hungry marlin snapping at an impossibly bright and attractive lure whilst pioneers, like the team here, devise new and forward-thinking ways to make listening to music easier, all the time staying a step ahead of the slow-moving record industry.
And that’s what it’s all about – the crux of the digital revolution is convenience and ease of access. You can carry a library of music in your smallest jacket pocket that would’ve required a whole truck-load of CDs or vinyl to replicate some years ago and in a matter of seconds you can find and download virtually any piece of music or podcast you could care to imagine. This has allowed music to invade people’s lives like never before. Indeed, upload your collection to the Psonar Cloud and you’ve got it saved (and available to stream) indefinitely and available to listen to in any location around the world: no more lost music when your iPod gets stolen or a hard-drive dies. Now that’s real convenience.
But one of the things that confounds and amazes me is that the music industry is one of the few commercialised art forms where the quality of the basic end product isn’t dependent on the price. For example, if I wanted to own a truly special painting then I’d need to start adding a few zeros onto my credit card limit, or if I wanted to go and see a world-class opera then I’d also have to spend a lot of money, but if I want to own Led Zeppelin IV then it costs the same as a copy of PartyTime by The Cheeky Girls. Led Zeppelin IV contains Stairway To Heaven – one of modern music’s great compositions – whilst PartyTime contains Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum), which is an all-time low point in the history of recorded music.
But this is what makes the art form, for me, anyway, completely compelling – the musical equivalent of a Picasso or Van Gogh is as accessible and costs the same as the musical equivalent of a two-year old’s first painting experiment. There are no boundaries or exclusions based on price, class or taste in modern music and digital services like Psonar are simply building on the most democratic of art forms in making purchasing, accessing and storing music easier and easier.
Finally, some news: since officially launching last week, the clever little Psonar SongShifter has found over 100,000 songs on users computers and devices and, of these, over 15,000 now reside securely in the Psonar Cloud. New tracks are being added at the rate of more than one-and-a-half songs a minute and the number will grow exponentially as more and more users join the Psonar community. We thank you for your help and participation from the bottom or our increasingly-ample frames (the CEO bought us all fish and chips for lunch today…).