20 million songs available on demand? Spotify and Vodafone 4G can offer just that. But what does all that music do to our listening habits? Enter the experts...

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Vodafone’s Red 4G-ready plans come with a bit of a boon for music lovers. Opt for #4GMusic as part of your plan and you’ll be able to tap into a world of 20 million songs from Spotify to stream right on your phone. But what does that kind of access mean for the future of music?

We’ve been on the hunt for opinions from those in the know. Enter Mischa Pearlman (who’s writing credits include the NME, The Guardian, MOJO and Clash), Tiffany Daniels, (Editor of music recommendation site Drunkenwerewolf) and Mic Wright (Chief Tech Blogger for The Daily Telegraph, and muso for Q magazine among many others). So, what can we glean from their collective wisdom?

A celestial library of music

“I think Spotify‘s changing out listening habits in a few ways,” says Mic. “One of the most interesting ones is that the collecting instinct is dying a little. You don’t need to horde music in physical form, or even on your hard drive. Instead there’s access to this celestial library of tunes that you can pull down at any time.

“It also means people are willing to take a chance on genres and artists they might not have explored before.”

That’s an attitude shared by Mischa, who adds that Spotify “allows anybody full access to the vast majority of music ever committed to tape. In the past, if somebody recommended a band or artist to you, it could be time-consuming and expensive to search them out. Now,” he adds, “the whole history of recorded music is at your fingertips, making for an ever expansive and accessible world of musical discovery.”

But Tiffany disagrees, arguing instead that Spotify can also help those who love to build a collection themselves: “I think a lot of people, myself included, use it as a browsing tool to figure out the sound of a musician before potentially investing in them further.” And it can help the bands and record labels themselves: “Spotify’s also very good for those in the industry wanting to gauge a musician’s overall style regardless of personal taste,” she explains.

The advent of 4G 

Our listening habits aside, how will new technologies – especially 4G – change the way and the places that we access music? Our #4GMusic offer, featuring Spotify Premium as part of your Vodafone Red 4G-ready plan, is your window into a world of amazing music on demand, but we’re keen to find out what our music experts think will happen once everyone’s everyone’s on board…

“Having Spotify Premium and 4G will be like having not just your own record collection with you all the time, but the collections of all your friends and family as well,” says Mischa. “Not to mention those of people you’ll never know or meet.”

 

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“4G is obviously a good thing,” Mic tells us, “because it’ll vastly improve the way streaming works, and open up even more services like Spotify to people on-the-go. Being able to grab data much faster is going to make the listening experience smoother, and remove the distinction between using Spotify on-the-go and at your desk. It’ll mean your music is with you constantly in a much more real way.”

And, excitingly, that always on-demand model is just the start…

The future

Music everywhere and all the time? It all sounds good to us so far, but what about beyond that? Mic believes that the merging of music and tech is bound to continue evolving:

“Better connectivity in the future is going to mean we have music fans who step out of a gig or hear something in passing in a club and immediately hook into that band’s catalogue on their way home.

“Fans will see the music itself as something that they can access in huge volume.”

“It will also mean that music fans will see the music itself as something that they can access in huge volume, cheaply.” But hang on; is that potentially bad for the industry? “For musicians that’s potentially a difficult thing,” Mic says, “but we’ll see even more than today that merchandise and experiences like gigs will be how the successful ones make a living.”

Crucially, the trend will be about sharing and searching. The cost to us as the listener might come down, but that, as Mischa tells us, will only go to making new bands much easier for everyone to find:

“Whereas before people swapped musical tips with mixtapes or CDs, now it’s possible to trade favourite songs and artists instantly, wherever people are,” he explains. “You could well discover your next favourite artist sitting on the bus home. And while I’m still a big fan of physical formats, that, to me, is an incredibly exciting and useful prospect.”

#4GMusic: For Spotify’s view on the future of music, click here. Or check out all the details of our Vodafone Red 4G-ready plans here.