Just before our #30yearsVodafone gig kicked off on Sunday, we spoke to rising UK star Raleigh Ritchie about what influence he think technology has had on the music scene. Heres' what he had to say...

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If you weren’t among the select few at our exclusive #30yearsVodafone gig, you may well have been one of the thousands of fans live-streaming over 4G it to their phones – in which case, you’d have seen hip hop heroes RUN-DMC tearing up the stage with rising UK star Raleigh Ritchie.

In the calm before that lyrical storm, we grabbed some time with Raleigh to talk about all things music and mobile, and to find out how the two are more interlinked than ever…

Easy listening

“The most fundamental difference in music in the last 30 years is that there’s more of it now,” says Raleigh. “Sure there were a lot of people trying to make stuff in 1985, but there wasn’t access to things like Spotify, SoundCloud and YouTube, where you can easily upload your stuff.”

He’s not wrong. In 2015 it’s never been easier to record and release music to a potential audience of millions, thanks to a plethora of services like the above that are designed to help artists break into the scene without having to head into a studio, or to get their work on store shelves. And Raleigh thinks that makes music a much more competitive, interesting place to be:

“Music now is a lot more of a coliseum,” he says, “everybody has a fair chance to put their hat in the ring and say ‘this is what I’m about’. I think it was probably harder to do that 30 years ago.”

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So with there being more music and more technology in our pockets than ever, all readily available through streaming services like Spotify, has the way we discover new tracks changed? Raleigh certainly thinks so…

“Music is a lot easier to access now,” he says, “which is a very good thing. You can very quickly have a debate about music with people; you can quickly pull up a song on your phone and ask someone if they’ve heard it, and then immediately talk to them about it. You can text each other about songs you’ve heard, and share the link. You used to have to buy a record and then wait until you got to school or to work on Monday to talk about it. Now you can do that instantly, which means it’s a lot easier to access, discuss and enjoy great songs.

“And with things like Twitter on my phone, artists can immediately find out what people think of something – like five minutes after they put it up. You can get an instant reaction, and you can give that back in whatever way to choose to.”

‘Living in the future’

And at Vodafone we’re right at the forefront of that instant-access movement, live-streaming the Raleigh Ritchie and RUN-DMC gig straight to people’s handsets over 4G, even letting them control the camera round 360 degrees as if they were right at the front of the crowd.

“It’s amazing to know people could live stream the gig,” Raleigh said beforehand. “It blows my mind. Maybe I’m a bit of an old soul, but I feel like we’re living in the future. I remember watching Star Trek and thinking that the idea of a video phone was amazing – it was Sci-Fi stuff – and now we have that technology in our pockets.”

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Video calls, music streaming and instant feedback on Twitter: phones have certainly come a long way in Vodafone UK’s 30 year history. So in the spirit of looking back, and of celebrating our the end of our third decade, we wanted to know what Raleigh remembers of his first ever mobile:

“I don’t remember what my very first phone was,” he says, “but the first one that I got that I really wanted was the Nokia 3310 – getting that was the best day of my life at the time! Everybody had just moved onto the next new thing when I finally got one, but I was so excited by it. I had it for so many years.”

And with that, we had to let Raleigh go warm up for the gig. Did you miss it? You can catch the whole thing again on the Vodafone UK YouTube channel. And stay tuned to Vodafone Social for more backstage interviews, including an exclusive talk with rap legends RUN-DMC.

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