Music
Kenyan afro-pop band, Sauti Sol

When I fixed my father’s ‘National’ record player this year at Kenyatta market famed shop for old records I was hoping to recapture old moments.

Where, a 30-centimetre diameter black circular record would whirl music out of its circular rings at the touch of a sensitive pin in such clarity that music would defy the age of the museum that contained it.

Most people do not know how a record player works, let alone remember how to measure diameters.

Why? I soon realized why my nostalgia was wishful thinking.

I had less than ten records, Mbaraka Mwishehe & Orchestra super Volcano’s Koleta and Kenyatta day, a collection of George and Gwen McRae’s. It’s been so long and Rocking Chair, Jimmy Cliff’s House of Exile, Johnny Nash’s Lets Go dancing, Staruss Favorite Orcestra, Abba, and Bob Marley’s Legend and a few odd unmentionable tracks like Yoko Ono’s KissKissKiss.

After one delightful afternoon where I felt more of a DJ than just a curious listener I ran out of music.

I quickly turned to my Safaricom Home fibre and here I could shift from Arlus Mabele’s Loketo to Diamond and Kofee’s famous ‘Anachukua anaweka waah’.

That is what technology has done to music, it has taken music from static polyvinyl ethyl record discs to some invincible cloud that has way more variety and depth than space would allow one music enthusiast.

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But what happens to us who still want to see the feel of the music guitar being strung, of exploding trumpets bellow like a whale’s blow horn and music stages get turned into the mystery of enchanted tunes.

We could still enjoy a concert or two where Hugh Masekela would trumpet at Safricom Jazz festival and mere vibrations of a flugelhornist would mean so much.

Safaricom Jazz festival gave us a lot, RICHARD BONA, Rhythm Junks (Belgium), The Nile Project (Nile Basin), and Yuval Cohen (Israel) among other artists

 But then, Hugh died and Coronavirus came and now it is either my ancient ‘National’ jukebox or Safaricom fibre.

During the period of the pandemic, the number of users engaging in live streaming surged across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Both locally and internationally artists have used live streaming as a method to connect directly with fans.

What with the wildly popular Instagram Live battle series Verzuz craze. Launched by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland. Matching up legendary artists and producers like DJ Premier and RZA or Ludacris and Nelly in song-for-song battles all carried out on IG Live.

Nashinsky has given us a live performance and an online album launch and Sauti Sol’s much-hyped performance had to be moved to Youtube.

So what is the future of music? Consumers are expected generally to have more leisure time and to have access to faster networks.

We expect the rollout of 5G internet and rise of home fibre which will coincide with more work from home ‘new normal’ and music will play a big role in facilitating the transition.

Streaming will be a big thing, and artists seeking to monetize their content will no onger be pushing CD sales or even worse my sort of Records.

Innovative solutions and partnerships like Safricom’s Songa music App that will enable our subscribers to get their local and international songs in one place and keep them consistently entertained & updated will become very important.

Such solutions now need to adjust to the new reality and figure out how to commercialse content better and actively and directly engage their customers.

Artificial intelligence will become bigger, it will be able to tell my taste of music, the mood which am in and algorithms will either take me slow on Rhumba, Rage in Rock or relax over a Reggaa beat.

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