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Music to our ears
The digital future of music is here!

September 9, 2005

This is it. This is the digital future of music we are now literally holding in the palm of our hands.

Technology has brought computers, telecommunications, entertainment, and music together into one device formerly known as the cellphone, now the most commonly used electronic device in the world.

It started in November 2000 when Sprint began selling the Samsung Uproar as the first cell phone with a built-in MP3 music player. Now there are currently about 70 wireless phones or mobile devices on the market that are capable of playing digital music using Windows Mobile or Windows Media software. Standard cellphone features now include Bluetooth, VGA Camera, flash and video recording capabilities. But the latest addition to this hi-tech market is the ROKR, a Motorola cellphone which uses Apple's iTunes music software .

The Motorola ROKR features dual built-in stereo speakers and stereo headphones that also serve as a mobile headset with microphone, with the ability to autofill it with playlists of favorite music, audiobooks and Podcasts from the iTunes library via a USB connection. The ROKR also pauses music automatically when users take a call and offers the ability to listen to music while checking messages or snapping a photo.

The impact of Digital Music Distribution and specifically the iPod features and the iTunes business model on the music industry has already been significant, but the availability of these features packaged all into one "always-with-you" device will soon change the way we create, purchase, and listen to music.

Here are some points to ponder:

- The iTunes business model and the option to download $0.99 single tracks will eventually lead to higher standards of music and performance , and get rid of poor quality songs that are just used as "filler" on albums with only 1 or 2 hit songs. This could also bring about the end of the music Album , and put the focus on single releases.

- With broadband internet coming soon to Iranian households, some of the people who will greatly benefit from the expansion of Digital Music Distribution will be the generation of Iranian Underground Musicians living in Iran. Musicians who can not get permission to record, publish, and perform their music in Iran , will now be able to distribute their music over the internet to a worldwide audience. One such example being the band Kiosk who are now available for Digital Download through iTunes.

- You no longer have to have a record label or have to have a CD to sell your music . Just create your music and upload it to an online Digital Music Distributor you have signed up with, and directly collect your payments from your Digital Music Distributor . This will also free artists from record label contracts that put pressure on them for producing albums, while still providing music copyright protection. Cheaper, better music to listen to , and the artists get the money they deserve.

- You no longer have to be a musician to create music of your own liking. With digital music technology you can create your own mash-ups, remixes, and Bastard Pop!

- You no longer have to have a radio to be a DJ. Anyone can create their own radio or Podcasts. Iranian bloggers have already started their regular Podcasting. Now you can listen to your favorite blog on your cellphone while driving!

- Infinite shelve space for storing your music online, as opposed to rows and rows of mismatched CDs and broken jewel boxes.

The rapid expansion of Digitial Music through its availabilty on the cellphone, will move us faster towards the democratization of music for artists by allowing them more freedom of artisitic expression, and the end of music piracy by bringing music prices down.

So there you have it, the future of music looks bright, and is blinking from our cellphones right into our eyes!

For letters section
To Babak Khiavchi


Babak Khiavchi



Book of the day

Borrowed Ware
Medieval Persian Epigrams
Translated by Dick Davis

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