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The Sound of Music

Horace Dediu, upon the release of the hotly anticipated HomePod* by Apple, writing beautifully:

Even when it comes to original video content it rolls out a Karaoke show, of all things. It still maintains an app called GarageBand. It goes and buys Shazam, and paid $3 billion for Beats and still makes AirPods and is about to launch a speaker. Yes, a loudspeaker called HomePod.

How quaint.

But all the cynicism around music is tone deaf to the sheer emotion that music can create. Music touches people like nothing else. I’ve seen young and old cry and burst with joy listening to music. For its low bandwidth, music delivers enormous emotional bandwidth. It always has and always will. It’s not obsolete and will never be. Music imprints itself in hearts and remains there for a lifetime.

It’s poetry for the senses.

Business models for music will come and go but music consumption is increasing. Access to the long tail has meant genres proliferated and production has spread to everyone who cares to try to make music.

* Horace ends the article expecting that “HomePod will surprise not because it will be a better at chatting. It will surprise because it will cause you to sit down and listen in awe.”

I guess that it has been less a surprise (or a success) than expected. 

For me its remarkable how the HomePod trajectory so far resembles that of previous speaker released by Apple, the “made for iPod” Apple Hifi: it was heavily hyped, a bit expensive, sounded good but not great. What concerns me most from the Hifi story is that after releasing it, Apple never released a follow-up product. The HomePod is now two and half years old, and there has been no updates so far. It would have been encouraging if Apple released an update or new version (larger, smaller, soundbar shaped etc.) ever since.

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