Ever since the advent of file sharing decimated the landscape of retail music, all eyes in the industry have been on coming tech trends. Because with the music biz still reeling, the only thing that will ultimately rescue it or destroy it completely is technology. Over the last few years, technology has brought many shifts in how people receive and share their music, most notably through popular online sites like iTunes. But there are a number of current indicators that point to the future and provide a glimpse of what the environment will look like for music consumers.
Some things we know already include:
- Social networking already plays a crucial role in the lives of music fans, with sites like Spotify facilitating the streaming and sharing of whole libraries of music.
- Microsoft is proving that music streaming and TV can comingle through their release of Xbox Music.
- Smartphones and tablets are already replacing computers as the primary way in which consumers access, purchase and share music.
- Items such as Beats by Dre and Neil Young’s Pono music service have put focus on higher quality vessels for delivering music.
And all of these facts will shape the future of music. With that in mind, here are some trends to look for in the coming year.
More “indie” DIY artists
Metallica didn’t leave their major label for a mere change of pace; they realized that with full ownership of their master recordings they could obtain even greater control of their music and further maximize profits. Other artists, such as Trent Reznor and Radiohead, have become famous for their recent direct-to-fan approaches to marketing. Expect 2013 to see even more artists take control of their music as social media allows for increasingly efficient marketing.
A rise in concert crowdfunding
2012 saw the notion of crowdfunding take root in the music world, and it will flourish in 2013. This is thanks to artists such as Amanda Palmer, who utilized sites like Kickstarter to generate over a million dollars to fund a book/music tour. Many other artists have seen these attractive results and have begun to take the same methods to heart. And with newer sites like GigFunder and Songkick helping to pave the way, artists may never have to outsource tour organizers again.
3D printing of music merchandise
2013 is poised to be the year artists eschew traditional methods of ordering and printing merch, such as t-shirts and records, in favor 3D printing based on digital models. Silicon Republic certainly believes this to be the case, and the rise in the sale of 3D printers as well as their subsequent drop in price certainly buttresses the notion.
Music merges with augmented reality
Although Google’s Project Glass augmented reality headgear is only in the developer phase, it is expected that music will play a crucial role. Just as music is integral to the iPhone, so shall it be with the next step in mobile communications.
All signs point to the above standing out as some of the major music trends in 2013. Of course streaming via cloud will eventually replace actual downloading of music as well. But for now it is the tech hardware that seems to be playing a more intriguing role in where music is headed.
Justin Miller is a professional blogger that writes on a variety of topics including video guitar lessons. He writes for JamPlay.com, a leading online music educator offering 2,000+ easy guitar songs to learn in HD.