If there is one thing that makes any individual interested in any particular topic or activity, it’s the kind of human touch that allows them to feel included and as though they are part of a community.
That’s the thinking behind the rise of chatbots, automatic conversation technology which has seen numerous sessions on the topic at US music conference SXSW reach their capacity with many of those interested being turned away.
We’re no stranger to chatbots by this stage. By now, you’ve more than likely received an automatic message via email if someone has set their status to ‘away’, or you’ve been sent a text message telling you your message wasn’t delivered. That’s what chatbots are, automatic technology that uses coding to deliver a conversation, without the actual flesh and blood component a regular conversation has.
So what does this have to do with the music scene? Well, as it stands, numerous companies have utilised chatbots to manufacture hype and advertise products. Activision recently used chatbots to help promote Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and Aussie rockers Northlane (pictured) were able to utilise the technology to confuse fans with an interactive game as a way to promote… something.
In both cases, the technology has been used to help promote an Alternate Reality Game of sorts where fans can immerse themselves in the topic at hand, interacting and raising awareness.
Now-defunct Australian pop-rock group Little Sea managed to utilise chatbots as a way to promote an innovative virtual concert last year. Using these chatbots in conjunction with Twitter, the group used the technology for fans to connect with the band, sending them messages which would allow their fans to unlock free tickets and exclusive concert related to their virtual concert.
Seventh Street Media’s Luke Girgis believes chatbots will open up numerous opportunities for individuals in both the consumption and organisation side of music. “Fans will be able to
“Fans will be able to utilise this technology to gain unprecedented access to information they would never have had before,” he said from SXSW in Austin, Texas. “Chatbots can be used for fans to message bots to get set times for shows and festivals, find out who is playing near them at any given time, or even use it as a way to interview the bands they love.”
This access to information will leave fans with plenty of ways to consume music like they had always wanted. Fans will be able to use this technology to discover new music, asking chatbots for music recommendations, information relating to events near them, or even as a way to connect with other fans who share similar music interests to them.
Industry-affiliated companies are steadily adopting this technology, whether it be as a way to announce event information, promote music and gigs, or even give fans exclusive access to new media, such as how Katy Perry delivered new music to her fans last month.
However, questions do arise with this technology. Will this take away the human side of things? Will fans begin to feel alienated from their idols, knowing that any correspondence undertaken on social media may be delivered by artificial technology? When and where will the lines between human and artificial interaction be? What level of human interaction will the chatbots need to successfully deliver the experience desired and required of fans and promoters?
At this point, only time will tell as to the reach that this technology will have in our day-to-day consumption of music and media.