It may be a new technology, but 5G is on its way and when it arrives it will bring with it faster data transfer speeds, real-time connections, and interconnected devices. This will open up the doors for new forms of commerce in the ever-shifting music industry. Here are a few ideas regarding how this could work.
The Basics of 5G
The faster connection speeds enabled by 4G broadband has already had an impact on the music industry, enabling the streaming services that are now ubiquitous today. Many think that streaming services like Spotify are the equivalent of yesterday’s radio, and that they are in the process of replacing the traditional album format. So if the possibilities of 4G have led to this type of jump in how we consume music, what will happen when 5G arrives? To begin with, it’s important to understand just how much faster 5G is in comparison. Although global standards haven’t yet been set, regulators like Ofcom believe that it will deliver speeds between 10-50Gbps, in comparison to 4G’s download speed of 15mbps. Others believe this will be the equivalent of the ability to download a feature film in under a second.
Perhaps more importantly, 5G will help support the billions of new devices trying to connect to the same network over the next few years. Music lovers know just how difficult it can be to get a signal when you’re in the midst of a music festival. The idea with the 5G being developed by Nokia Networks and other operators, is that it will use a higher volume of small base stations and personalized antennae. It can reduce latency and boost reliability even under serious strain. This could help unlock more online promotional efforts during gigs and festivals, just to start.
Integrated devices for audiences
Another way that 5G will impact the music industry is that it will allow all of your devices to be connected to one central network. This includes not only your smartphone and laptop like today, but also wearable devices, home appliances, and public transport. Consumers will be able to enjoy a seamless listening experience, with smart devices able to provide a smooth transition from one location to the next. Your music listening service will pick up right where you left off, even from a completely different device or location. And due to the superfast 5G speeds, streaming services will be more reliable than ever, with no buffering issues or dropped connections. Some predict that 5G will usher in the internet of things, including machine-to-machine technology and event holographic phone calls. This could bring about holographic, 3D music videos and performances straight into your own home.
Smarter contracts for artists
The same concept of the 5G-enabled internet of things could also be applied to artist contracts and how works of the future are monetized. Artists can define how their works can be used, with different terms or pricing structures as needed. Just as connected objects use sensors to communicate with one another, artistic works from musicians could have sensors or tags built into their design, controlling how they are downloaded or streamed. Music services can become more intuitive than ever before using stronger, smarter networks – allowing consumers and artists to enter a more fruitful relationship without any need for a middleman.
It’s not likely that we’ll see 5G until 2020 or so, so at the moment all of this is mere speculation. Yet there’s no doubt that 5G, when it does arrive, will change the scope of many businesses, and this includes the music industry.