Why Mobile Music is important (part 1)

I wanted to spend some time in May taking a deeper look into a range of topics around mobile music. I think that there are a lot of questions that warrant more time and investigation, and so often we don’t get the chance to do that.

To start with I want to ask, and hopefully answer, this question.

Why is mobile music important?”

You might think that the answer to that question is self evident, and you might wonder why someone who’s been involved in mobile music for the last 8 years (or probably a lot longer actually) would ask something like this.

The reason that I think it’s important to ask this is because it is fundamental to the ongoing expansion of the community and to getting some perspective in terms of why anyone should start down the route of making music on a mobile device.

Being able to answer this question gives us the ability to continually push the mobile agenda and become a real voice for change in the music tools industry. Of course, you could argue that this has been done. You could say that where we are today reflects the fact that the argument has already been won. However, I’d say that this is an argument that we’re going to continue to face for a long time to come.

There are also those who might state that there is no longer any such thing as mobile music anyway. That the distinction itself is no longer valid. I did in fact hear that from someone in the academic community not so long ago. It’s a point worth considering. However, for the most part, I think we still face a lot of the “it’s just a toy” or “it’s only a fad” treatment that was characteristic five years ago and long before that, and, to be fair, back then it was largely true.

But now, in 2014, I firmly believe that it’s a different story. The question is, why and how do you get people to accept it as a fact?

You could answer that in a number of different ways. Proving something like this isn’t always about numbers (although numbers is something that we need to deal with at some point, and I think I might tackle that separately).

In fact when you start to look at the dimensions of this question it is actually pretty huge and in many ways there is only one place from which you can answer the question, and that place is in hindsight. So perhaps a better question would be:

“What would the music making world look like if we were sitting, ten years from now, looking back at 2014 and saying, yes, that’s when it was obvious that mobile had taken a real hold.”

If we could answer that, if we could say what that looked like then I think we’d be well on the way to understanding what needs to change in order that mobile can get the kind of recognition it needs and deserves, and along the way we may even answer some of the questions that John from the Music App Blog poses in his piece about iOS not being mainstream.

Over this month I’ll be asking a lot of questions, and raising issues that I think are important and that require a bit more time and thought. I hope you’ll find it as interesting a journey as I do.

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