Technological convergence is when information – such as words, images, and sounds – are digitized, thus allowing the information to flow across differing technological platforms. I think a good example of this type of convergence is the transformation of music listening. Music used to only be listened to through CDs and vinyl records. People had to go out to stores and buy the right disk in order to listen to their favorite records. Today, people have the ability to listen to music at the touch of a button. Music has been digitized and streamed online, thus allowing people to listen to it whenever and wherever they want.
An example of this music convergence to digital platforms is Spotify. Spotify offers people to listen to their favorite songs either for free (with ads) or through a paid monthly plan (without ads and more freedom off wifi). People can search Spotify and find endless songs, albums, and artists – from the current charts to decades ago. Spotify allows people to find indie artists and uncover new songs by offering playlists based on their musical preferences. With this technological convergence, music has never been so easy to find and listen to. I spend hours on Spotify making playlists and discovering new artists.
There are many advantages to using Spotify. Although some artists refuse to put their music on Spotify (Taylor Swift for example), many artists want to share their music openly to wide audiences. One of the implications of Spotify is the concern of piracy. With 20 million plus songs to its database, some people assume illegal sharing is taking place. However, Spotify actually offers a solution to piracy by having to obtain the artist’s permission to put their songs on the database and offer them an amount of money for each time their song is played. In the article I attached below, Sean Parker (founder of Napster) states, “We compete with the vast majority of music fans who are actually still using piracy networks and we offer a legitimate solution that’s significantly more convenient than piracy and significantly more convenient than iTunes.”
Thus, Spotify offers a legal, accessible way to listen to millions of different songs. This technological convergence shows that the colliding of music with new technology and digitization can be a positive, successful step for the music industry.