Goodbye iTunes, hello Ursa Music

Ursa Music is set to the fill the gap iTunes is leaving behind
Image: Facebook | Ursa Music

A new music streaming platform is emerging onto the scene. Ursa Music made its premiere in Austin, Texas, at SXSW 2019, introducing us to an entirely different way to consume music. The streaming service (which officially launches this year) features extensive artist-controlled profiles. Now music, photos, videos, tour dates, bios, and more, can be found all in one place.

Ursa is giving us a platform that allows both fans and artists to engage while listening to music.

Yesterday is History

The way a consumer takes in music has certainly changed over the years. Phonographs, record players, and turntables have each had their place in the timeline. As modern technology evolved, we watched 78s, 33s, and 45s move to cassette tapes and CDs.

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Moving into the digital age, we saw the birth of iTunes. The “jukebox” software was revolutionary. Users could create and manage their music library, geared specifically for their Mac. Steve Jobs had shown us the future. The free download allowed users to import songs from their favorite CDs (compress them into the then-popular MP3 format) and store them on their computer’s hard drive.

For the first time, fans could organize their music in a way that was meant for the 21st century. All they had to do was download iTunes. That allowed them to search, browse, burn their own CDs, and create a playlist which all worked in one easy-to-use application.

And Now for Something Completely Different

Ursa Music steps onto the scene at just the right time. It’s similar to Apple Music or Spotify in some respects but is way more extensive. With Ursa, co-founders Christopher Jones and Chad Royce are redefining what a music streaming platform should be and showing us how we can make it better. Ursa Music creates a place where fans can go to listen to the songs they love while inviting them to explore more about the artists who create them. They’ve constructed a community for people to discover and engage.

Artists can post things such as liner notes, credits, details about the artwork, about the song, about the album; all of these things that we’ve lost in the digital era. What used to come enclosed in a cassette tape or CD can now be found online, in a single app. Fans will now be able to interact with those things, while they’re listening to music.

Royce and Jones are based in New York. They both come from musical backgrounds. Jones is a singer/songwriter, and Royce is a producer/songwriter. They began this journey, knowing that there was no place in this digital age where fans could see things outside of the music. Right now it’s just metadata, and we all know that artists are so much more than that. Before Ursa, there was no place to showcase all of the people who contributed to the music besides the artist themselves.

Let’s Tech About the Future

Thanks to Ursa Music, technology is catching up to where we all want it to be. Now we have a place for producers to be able to show every single album they’ve ever produced. The same goes for songwriters, bass players; the list goes on. For people who are part of big bands, but also do their own things, Ursa gives them a place to exist within streaming music.

In the digital age, artists have become disconnected from their music. Ursa now gives them a connection and a voice. It’s easy to tell that the app is founded by artists because it’s made for artists. That’s what sets this apart.

Ursa is emerging as a music streaming platform built by artists for artists and the fans that love them. They are the first, and only, music streaming platform that is centered on the artist. It allows for a personal touch that their competitors don’t have.

Royce and Jones have dreamed up a digital community where the listeners’ journey doesn’t end at just discovering music. Here is a world where they get to interact, engage, and go more in-depth with the artists they love.

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree

Recent news of iTunes shuttering has sent consumers’ imaginations into a tailspin. For the past 18 years, iTunes has been the way most people listen to (and buy) their favorite music. It was hard enough to make the adjustments moving from analog to digital, but now that we’re here, having to say goodbye to what we’re accustomed to seems almost reminiscent of what happened in 2001. The shakeup brings an air of curiosity. It’s as if we all somehow recognize that we’re supposed to take this step in order to venture into the next phase of modern technology.

Recently, during Apple’s annual WWDC event in San Jose, information was disclosed that gave people more of an idea about where we are heading. Announcements were made revealing updates to the operating systems that run the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac. New privacy features were discussed. And, we also learned more about what’s happening with the iTunes app.

Probably the most significant change that users will have to get used to is that as iTunes fades away, it will no longer be a free app. It will be replaced with Apple Music: an ad-free music streaming subscription service that costs money. Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and AppleTV will now be split into three different apps.

Currently Under Construction

While Apple sorts itself out, the good news is that it will give people a chance to change their habits and replace what they currently use with something new—which is what the co-founders of Ursa are hoping for.

While at first glance, it may seem that Ursa is competing with Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, Tidal, Amazon, and Soundcloud, the truth is, they are so much more. Imagine taking those streaming services and combining them with platforms such as SongKick and BandsInTown, which offer events, along with Jaxtsa and All Credits, which display credits.

The Ursa app has been in development for three years. While they are currently in private beta, recently, some of the Ursa Music team members opened it up for one night (during Charity Bomb’s Strange 80s 3D, in Los Angeles) giving every single fan there early access to the app.

The app is currently “INVITATION ONLY,” but Ursa is actively seeking artists and bands to be a part of their beta program.

People may have to get used to a world without iTunes, but with Ursa Music in our future, there may be hope for better days, after all.

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Sari Cohen is a journalist based in the Greater L.A. Area. She began her career in the entertainment industry as a stand-up comedy writer/performer and over the years has developed scripts for both the stage and screen. She currently covers music and live entertainment for AXS, reviews movies for Hollywood First Look Features and writes for InLove Magazine. She also pens funny stuff for popular sites such as Cracked and Screen Rant. You can often find her at concerts or on a red carpet somewhere, talking to someone about something. From on-the-scene reporting to exclusive interviews, she tackles every topic from music, movies and television, to fashion, lifestyle and politics. You can check out more on Twitter at @ask_sari or follow her adventures on Instagram under @thesavvyscribbler.