While streaming continues to be the dominant music listening platform, there has been a significant uptick in physical audio purchases. Most notably in vinyl sales but CDs and even cassette tapes have seen a resurgence in recent years. Whether it’s a wave of nostalgia or an appreciation for the physical medium, folks have embraced the ritualistic practices of popping in a tape or placing down a record. Yamaha Design Lab has taken this a step further with the reveal of its Stepping Out of the Slate concept series. The audio tech brand released details and product drawings for a line of items that pair with smartphones to recreate physical audio equipment. The most eye-catching reveal is the TurnT which mimics the experience of a record player. By placing your smartphone on the device and lowering the stylus, you can play your favorite record right through your phone. There were also details released on the Winder, which acts like a music box, playing a single pre-paired song selected from your phone. Or, the MusicLight which plays a song as you light the candle with the music wavering while the candle flickers ultimately fading away once the light goes out.
These proposals are an interesting extension of physical audio equipment and attempt to ritualize the act of streaming music. While the audio itself remains the same, the act of listening to music suddenly becomes more intentional and interactive. The product concepts are extremely innovative and unique though it’s unclear if the Stepping Out of the Slate series would function more as a novelty or if folks would adopt this method of listening to music. No plans to bring these ideas to production have been announced but we’ll be keeping an eye on them for further updates.