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A quick peek at the year ahead

Here are some predictions for the next year.

Here are some predictions for the next year:

CD sales will continue to spiral downward as more people get with the digital program via their smartphones, tablets and the new in-dash Internet devices in their cars. Pop artists will dominate the album charts because their fans will be the only ones buying CDs in any significant numbers. Soon, the CD sales charts will become irrelevant as labels, artists and managers will increasingly demand different metrics for measuring success like downloads (legal and otherwise), Facebook sharing, music streams, YouTube views, tweets and MySpace plays.

Speaking of which, News Corp will unload MySpace. I just hope the new owners will see its value in spreading the word on music.

Look for several companies (Google, Spotify or perhaps even iTunes) to start offering subscription-based all-you-can-eat streaming services from the cloud. These services won’t be profitable right away, but once they become available, adoption rate will pick up as people recognize the convenience they offer. In a few years, the idea of having to pre-load a music player with music before we leave the house will seem primitive. Our music will follow us wherever we go on every device we want to use.

This isn’t to say we won’t still want to buy songs to keep. We’ll still use iTunes, HMV Digital and all the other online stores, but watch for a rise in apps that will allow us to continuously interact with individual bands. App stores will become the new record stores.

However, music piracy will remain unstoppable. After more than 10 years of this game of Whack-a-Mole, the music industry must be slowly realizing that all they can’t stamp out illegal file-sharing.

The music video will continue to find new life online, thanks to the developing HTML5 protocol (have you seen the Arcade Fire’s “Wilderness Downtown” video?) portals like YouTube and Vevo, and apps that offer customized delivery. Meanwhile, the vinyl renaissance will peak and live on as a viable niche market—for a few years, anyway.

The concert industry will continue to readjust to the new economics of the music industry. I mean, how many $1,000 VIP packages can you sell? Promoters and managers will have to work together better.

One wish: Let’s stop throwing around the world “indie.” It’s become obsolete. Let’s just call it “new music.” Deal?

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