Big Picture blog, so today I wanted to post a few pertaining to the music business. As with my other predictions, they're based on a bit of inside knowledge, a few rumors, and my ability to read the tea bags.
1) Subscription music gains a bit more traction. Subscription service Spotify debuts but they'll be crippled due to oppressive licensing deals with the major labels and a cash flow problem. However, music lovers get more and more used to subscription - and they like it. 2010 is not the year subscription reaches critical mass though, because........................
2) Apple waits it out. Apple now has the infrastructure to launch a subscription service since they bought LaLa, and they're just the 800 pound gorilla to push it over the top. Not in 2010 though, as they squeeze one more year of downloads out of the iTunes store. 2011 will be a different story altogether.
3) Social media management becomes an issue. No artist has enough time in the day to adequately manage his social media strategy. Hell, most of them don't even have a social media strategy at all! But the demands of social media finally outweigh the demands of making music, and the artists rebel. As a result......
4) A new class of social media company arises. In 2010, you'll see companies that are dedicated to managing all the social media of an artist so the artist can get back to making music. Sure, there are a few companies like that now, but most of them tend to specialize in PR, or site, MySpace and Facebook design. This new class of company will concern itself only with social media management, and will remove the burden from the artist for better or worse.
5) Record labels get smarter. Let's face it, we like to paint these guys as stupid and out of touch. Sure, many of them are, but there are a lot of bright, passionate people still in the music business and they're learning fast what it takes to give the public and the artist what they need. Look for some surprisingly hip initiatives from labels big and small in 2010 (and a bunch of incredibly stupid ones too.)
6) Concert ticket prices come back to earth. You can only soak the people so many times even in good times, but when times are tough the pocketbooks close quickly. Major artists begin to realize that fans just don't want to see them every year, especially when they could be paying the rent or the mortgage or putting food on the table with the money instead. In 2010, the whole concert industry begins to wise-up and understand that the only way it can survive is by offering tickets at Chevy prices instead of a Ferrari.
7) Twitter takes a fade. It's happening already - there's more and more spam on Twitter and it's been hacked too. And more goofy, inane posts by people that should know better. Why would you think in your wildest dreams I'd be interested in the fact that you just bought a muffin at Starbucks? In 2010, the pushback begins.
Let's see how these work out. Happy New Years and thanks for reading everyone!!