- Women dominate the music scene. Adele, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and even Madonna cashed in from everything from music sales to concert tickets to fragrance lines.\
- The holdouts fall to digital music. Longtime digital holdouts AC/DC and Kid Rock finally give in and sign on to iTunes. Sales immediately jump.
- Traditional media is less effective than ever. Michael Jackson's prime-time Thanksgiving special on the making of Bad sells just 11,000 albums.
- Psy sets a record. Over a billion views on YouTube makes him an international star despite not liking Americans (his biggest market) very much.
- Streaming comes to the forefront. It's not paying much, as songwriter Ellen Shipley finds that 3 million Pandora streams nets her 39 bucks.
- Apple pulls their streaming service at the last minute. Apple was all set to introduce their music streaming service at the iPhone 5 launch in September only to run into last-minute trouble in the license negotiations. Will 2013 be the year it finally launches?
- Trent Reznor resigns with a major label. The king of DIY recants and signs with Sony Music.
- 140 Billion friends on Facebook. It turns out that the number of users on Facebook isn't important as all their friends when it comes to word-of-mouth.
- Music sales up for the year. Even before the Christmas season, Nielsen Soundscan reported that digital albums are up 15% this year so far and individual digital track sales are up by 6%. In fact, Americans have already purchased more than 1 billion downloads this year and are on a pace to to break the 2011 record of 1.3 billion.
- Sony negotiates independently. In a move that may signal a change in the way business is done in the music industry, music publisher Sony/ATV Music will soon negotiate directly with iTunes, Amazon and every other online music distributor directly. In effect, they're cutting out the traditional performing rights organization middlemen of ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.
- Older catalog outsells newer releases.For the first time since Nielsen Soundscan has been keeping track of sales since 1991, older catalog records are outselling current albums. A catalog album is one that was released more than 18 months ago.
- Beats Buys MOG. Headphone maker Beats Electronics, owned by rap artist/producer Dr. Dre and music exec Jimmy Iovine, acquired the digital music service MOG Inc. Now that everyone has headphones, it's time to deliver content.
- The Universal/EMI deal completes. The Big 4 record labels become the Big 3 as the Universal takeover of EMI is finally approved after the company sheds some of the its smaller subsidiaries.
- Amanda Palmer scores big on Kickstarter. She tries to raise $100,000 for album promotion and raises $1.2 million instead.
- The line blurs between online and over-the-air radio. More people listen to online radio than ever before, yet they still listen to terrestrial radio as well. 39% of the US population listens monthly to online radio.
- Boy bands make a comeback. New Direction, Big Time Rush, and The Wanted crash the charts and sell out venues everywhere.
- Billboard finally updates its charts. It took some time and is probably about 5 years too late in coming, but Billboard has finally updated its charts to include on-demand streams from services such as Spotify, Rhapsody, Muve, MOG, Slacker and >Rdio to determine chart position
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