At the end of 2010, Mashable.com contributor Brenna Ehrlich created 5 predictions for the Music Industry in 2011. While her post takes on a cynical – albeit merited – stance on the future state of music, it is refreshing not to hear more posts from people riddled with angst about the profitable music industry of yesteryear (looking at you NPR). By looking into Ehrlich’s foresight with an inquisitive eye and not simply ones filled with hopeless tears, we might be able to come a bit closer to finding the industry savior we have all been waiting for.
Prediction #1 – Subscription services will be popular, but not profitable.
I completely agree. Spotify lost close to $27 million last year and old timers like last.fm still have yet to show a profit. Why is this? I think it is simple – the intimacy of an album is lost when it is simple to stream. Moreover, it treats music as a cheap commodity, not an art form but a service that you pay for, an endless sampler plate with no option to take home. Subscription services rely on the belief that people will pay for something they do not – and will never – own.
Prediction #2 – More artists will finally get social
This one does not even need discussing. If my grandmother is on Facebook, so should everyone trying to crack that Billboard chart. Frankly, I think it is easier for the artist and turns some profit in the long run (here’s to Kanye making his joining of Twitter a worldwide phenomenon). Artists need to see the web as a way to act independently of the labels and their now-dated protocol. Get involved and interact with fans and other artists in a way that was not possible before.
Prediction #3 – Music Videos will continue their renaissance online
It’s the only place we can watch music videos anyway.
Prediction #4 – Ping will never take off, never.
I don’t know enough about Ping to agree or disagree. Which probably proves that Ehrlich is right.
Prediction #5 – Music piracy will not die.
You know what they say for addicts: admitting you have a problem is the first step. So let’s be real; this is the paradox we call reality. No slight change will cure this; it will take a rather hefty makeover to create system that everyone is okay with. So let’s dry our tears and look into these predictions as well as our own personal beefs with music's current affairs. Then let's dissect what isn’t working and try to get ourselves to a place where the words “music” and “industry” in juxtaposition did not incite immediate eye rolls and headaches.