Music Predictions

March 23, 2011

Being that it has been a week since my last post, I have decided to give everyone three posts over the next three days. This first one consists of ten predictions of what will happen in the music industry in the next ten-12 years. Some are blatantly obvious, while others may be seen as outrageous. Either way, this is my honest assessment of the future of music.

CDs Will Go the Way of Records

CDs have already lost a great deal of importance to those who download torrents or buy music from the iTunes store. Stores such as Best Buy and Target have already greatly reduced their CD selection. Still, stores such as FYE, Exchange, and locally owned music stores carry a wide variety of CDs. For people like me, these stores are a safe haven for those who still love the liner notes and album artwork that go along with the music. However, I believe this will change. As music becomes increasingly digital (some newer artists don’t even bother to put CDs out anymore, opting for exclusively digital releases), CDs will all but fade away. Like 45 records, I predict that CDs will be reduced to sites like Amazon and locally owned music stores in big cities.

“Rap” Will Be Unseated

Ask anyone who tunes in daily to listen to new Top 40 hits on the radio, and they will most likely tell you that rap is one of their favorite genres. However, what they consider to be “rap” is actually more techno-inspired, mainstream pop music (look back at even a mainstream hit like “California Love” and compare it to Wiz Khalifa’s “Roll Up,” and you’ll know what I mean). If one were to look at music trends, they would see that in the ’80s, rock took a turn towards the mainstream pop sound with the glam-rock bands taking over the scene. What happened? A bunch of lower-class artists stepped up with a seemingly obscure genre called “hip-hop.” Three decades prior, rock ‘n roll did the same thing to jazz. Something, and I don’t know what, will take over the airwaves to become the new “in” sound in the next dozen years.

It Better Be Live

As music piracy continues and the younger generation neglects purchasing music, concerts and shows will increasingly become the bread-and-butter of musical acts. Groups like The Dave Matthews Band and The Roots will continue to make a killing off their stellar concerts, while those who rely on the studio-sound will suffer great financial decline in the future.

Smaller Record Labels Will Die Out

Once again, music piracy will continue to have an increasing impact on the industry. Right now, independent labels can survive because people will buy the music. However, as less and less people become consumers, labels will fold, leaving the larger, more corporate-based labels to have a monopoly on the music industry, meaning less creativity, more formulaic, radio-ready music.

Someone Will Break the Mold

It has happened before and it will happen again. Someone will have the balls to go against the larger record labels. It will be very difficult and there will be many obstacles for said person. Still, who can forget when Marvin Gaye broke out of Berry Gordy’s Motown formula to create one of the greatest soul albums of all time? Or what about when Dr. Dre took a chance on some white nobody from Detroit who turned out to be one of the biggest artists of all time? In the end, someone will restore my faith in the music industry.

Pop Music Will Still Dominate

I know, this sounds like a contradiction of my last prediction, but when someone breaks the mold, it is remembered mostly because it is an exception to the cookie-cutter music that dominates the airwaves. Pop music, whether it be pop-rock, pop-country, pop-rap, or any other kind of pop, will continue to be successful.

Economic Issues Will Affect American Artists’ Global Reach

This sounds outrageous, right? America is one of the biggest and most powerful countries in the world, right? Things change, and that change affects everything in some way, shape, or form. Right now, America is trillions of dollars in debt, with interest growing every day. I’m not saying America will be overthrown or that we will lose all clout in the global economy, but as other countries in the world progress, I predict American artists won’t be as popular around the rest of the world, simply because America won’t be as popular, either.

Certain People Will Stick

Certain people will be in the music business forever. They are smart, experienced, and just have a great ear for music. For instance, while Dr. Dre might bow out following Detox, he will be around as a producer/executive forever. Any doubters of this prediction need to look no further than 84-year-old Tony Bennett’s stunning rendition of “I Left My Heart in San Fransisco” last fall before a World Series game.

Early Exit

This one is pretty obvious. Drug overdoses, shootings, suicides, and plane/automobile accidents have been a staple of deaths in the music industry. People in the business die of unnatural causes all the time. Sooner than one may think, someone huge will pass on. Who it will be, of course, will remain a mystery.

Music Will Still Be Music

People will argue, debate, listen, not listen, half-listen, go to concerts, reminisce, love, hate, cry, and scream all in the name of music. But it will still be music. And some of it will still be great.

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