Music - Assistive Technology Advice From Vital Tech


Last modified: 20th February 2020

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When it comes to storing music and organising your collection, using CD’s and records can pose obvious challenges for blind and partially sighted people. A good labelling system can help or managing music electronically avoids the hassle of dealing with large amounts of physical objects.


Mainstream products

Storing audio files on computers or mobiles, is generally a convenient option, so long as the device used is easily accessible. Physical music collections can be digitised, simply by copying the contents of CD’s onto computer hard drives, which are capable of efficiently storing thousands of songs.  These files can also be saved onto USB sticks, backing up the music collection and enabling it to be carried around and transferred onto other devices.

Electronic copies of audio files can be purchased from online music stores. Digital files can be stored locally, on your device or online, through cloud storage systems, allowing access to your music collection anywhere, simply by logging into your personal account.

Streaming services operate on a new business model. Instead of buying songs or albums, users subscribe to the service to get access to substantial music libraries. Users often pay a regular subscription fee to get unlimited access to the online collection.  Spotify users can access a vast library of songs and the mobile versions of the app are highly accessible. But on Windows computers, Spotify is often less easy for blind and partially sighted people to use without third party software such as LEASEY Advanced scripts package for JAWS users. Apple Music is accessible through its compatibility with Apple’s VoiceOver software. Google Play Music and Amazon Music are both inclusively designed to be easy to use.


Specialist products

See our Labelling and locating page for information that will help labelling physical music collections.


Using your smartphone

Digital voice assistant technology can be especially convenient for finding and playing music. Just speak the wake word and instruct your assistant to start playing a song, album or playlist from your collection or streaming library. The Amazon Echo comes with a decent speaker and the Alexa assistant has built in connectivity with Amazon Prime Music and Spotify.

The Google Assistant has access to Google Play Music and Spotify.

The Sonos multi-room smart speaker offers a great although expensive home sound system, operated through a highly accessible app. The interesting ‘Sonosthesia’ eBook gives a comprehensive guide to the Sonos platform from the perspective of a user with visual impairment.

The Apple HomePod has access to Apple Music.