On Friday, August 15th the Music Business bachelor’s program welcomed music technology analyst and author Kyle Bylin. Kyle joined over 30 campus student and dozens of online students via GoToTraining to speak about his job as a user experience researcher, and to discuss his new book Promised Land: You Culture, Disruptive Startups, and the Social Media Revolution. Music Business Course Directors David MacDonald and Brandy Price moderated the discussion.
With subscription services such as Spotify and Rdio changing the way we consume and access music, users may find themselves overburdened by choice.
“In a weird way, music is everywhere and nowhere,” Kyle said. “At any given time, no matter where you are, there’s something you could Shazam, discover, and purchase. But because it’s everywhere, you almost take it for granted. Music becomes this sort of audio backdrop to our daily lives.”
Speaking to the problem of how to discover new music in flooded market, Kyle touched on the power of multi-purpose apps like Pandora, which make the discovery process a byproduct of a larger experience. Despite the convenience of curation, Kyle believes that traditional avenues are still a viable way for artists to market themselves.
“These discovery services have been able to gain traction, but we all know that Pandora has 1 million songs (compared to Spotify’s 20 million). The discovery loop isn’t actually that big. You eventually start hearing the same things over and over again. The reality of the situation is that people are still hearing things on radio, they’re still hearing about them from their friends, and they’re still seeing them emerge on social networks.”
Kyle answered lots of student questions during the event. One of those questions addressed his work analyzing the user experience for companies like Billboard and LiveNation, a job Kyle says was borne out of his desire to work in the music industry and “invented along the way.” So how do you go about getting a job that doesn’t actually exist?
“The way I did it is by consistently putting myself out there and sharing my thoughts about the industry,” he said. He urged students to examine things that others might be curious about, and then share their observations with a larger audience. “If you have thoughts about this stuff, publish them. Suddenly, you’re the expert. Use your position as a student to make connections, and invent ways to make yourself a journalist and a researcher.”