At the best of times, life as a musician before the coronavirus pandemic was hard. Now that it's unsafe to tour and perform in front of a live audience, it's nearly impossible. But a company called Oda, founded long before the coronavirus was on anyone's radar, wants to do what it can to help musicians make a sustainable living. To do that, it's introducing a set of Bluetooth speakers.
The most noteworthy aspect of the Oda speakers is that they allow you to listen to live seasonal programming that you can only access through them. Each season will see more than 20 artists perform over 12 weeks, with both weekday and weekend performances planned and some surprises along the way as well. The first season will start on December 21st, with a pass priced at $79.
The idea behind the seasonal passes is to create a sustainable business model for performing artists and musicians. "We pay meaningful performance fees to give artists and opportunity to create something unique and stretch their creative limits," the company says on its website.
Some of the more notable musicians who plan to participate in Oda's seasonal programming include legendary jazz composer Terry Riley, electronic producer Arca and Madlib, best known for his work with MF Doom and J Dilla.
In between broadcasts, Oda will transmit sounds from places like bird sanctuaries. Naturally, you can use them to listen to your music library as well.
As for the speakers, Oda hasn't shared too much information about them. What we do know is that they include Bluetooth and WiFi 802.11n connectivity and a line-in connection. Unlike your typical loudspeaker, they feature a flat panel design that utilizes an audio exciter in each speaker to produce sound. It's a design that allows for a relatively compact setup, but bass response and overall sound quality can sometimes suffer.
One thing you won't find on them is microphones. Oda makes a point of noting that it's business model doesn't involve collecting and selling customer data. To that end, you won't hear ads at any point during one of the company's musical sessions.
The Oda speakers are available to pre-order starting today for $299. After Oda sells its first 1,000 units, the cost of the speakers will increase to $399. At that price, you could get any number of loudspeakers, including popular choices like Kanto’s YU4s, but few are going to be as unique as Oda’s offering. Whether that’s enough to make them a success is something we’ll have to wait and see.