Tech: Tuning into the future

June 22, 2018

 

One of the wonders of a connected world is the sheer amount of data and resources at our fingertips. It’s not just text and funny cat pictures, though—the internet gives us access to a vast range of music. No matter your tastes, you can find something to please the ears, whether it is discovering new artists or taking a trip down memory lane.

 

Here are some of the ways you can take advantage of this auditory bonanza:

 

1. What’s that song?
We can probably all remember a time where we have been listening to the radio in the car, or at a party, and heard a new song that had us tapping our feet or snapping our fingers. But if no-one back announces the track, how do we find it again?


One of my favourite apps for my phone is Shazam which, like the similar product Soundhound, makes identifying a song a piece of cake. It uses the microphone to listen to a sample of a song, then checks it against a database and identifies it for you. 


Neither of these apps are perfect—too much background noise can interfere and they don’t really work with live music, but it is still quite remarkable how accurate they can be. This technology has introduced me to a number of artists that I only heard in passing, but would have struggled to identify.

 

2. Your own music library
Where once you might need to buy a whole album for the sake of one song, technology has evolved, moving beyond allowing us to buy a single track at a time to giving us a vast music library on demand.


Subscription services like Apple Music or Spotify allow you to access every kind of music imaginable, from the great classical composers, through jazz standards of the Roaring ’20s, all the way to the latest hits.


They also provide themed playlists that allow you to explore music that matches your tastes, or introduces you to new hits. It’s something I wish I had access to in my Christian community radio days because you can trace the evolution of any genre from its roots through to today’s stars.

 

3. Streaming sound

Many radio stations now provide broadcasts via the internet, allowing you to stream the sound to your desktop or phone. The ease of access and the low overheads mean that specialist channels are multiplying and, where once a radio station might have been limited to one channel, they can now have as many ‘channels’ as they want—each one dedicated to particular types of music, or even news and talkback.


So if you want a radio station that only plays the best of country music, or is focused on one particular artist, chances are you can find it.


It’s also seen the rise of podcasts, which can be either streamed or downloaded for later listening. These are essentially self-contained episodes that anyone can record and upload, usually made of discussion and conversation covering everything from music to current events. They are great for whiling away time spent stuck in your car on the commute to work, or sweating through a workout.

 

4. ‘YourTube’

If audio is not enough, Youtube is worth checking out as it is becoming increasingly common for record companies to upload music videos to the site for fans to enjoy. And you can find a number of live performances to savour, including some of the great concerts of all time.
 

These possibilities are merely a drop of water in the ocean of sound that is out there waiting so, if you love your music, why not wade in?
 

 

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