Here are some predictions for music in 2012.
Indie music’s impact will be greater than ever. Major labels — we’ll soon be down to just three — will continue to chase mass audiences with mass appeal artists. Their focus will be more on creating Top 40 superstars. It’ll be up to the indies to deliver the truly interesting stuff. And they will.
In addition to mass appeal acts, the major labels will really push heritage performers. This year’s big reunions so far are the Cranberries (new album on Feb. 14), the Stone Roses (festivals this summer) and Black Sabbath (new album this fall). Also expect more deluxe reissues (Tragically Hip, I’m looking at you) as they try to persuade us to buy new copies of old albums — at a premium, of course.
Madonna and the Rolling Stones will battle it out for the tour of the year. Madonna will release her new album in March. And, although they’re playing coy, there’s no way the Rolling Stones won’t go on a 50th anniversary tour this year.
The gap between what’s on the radio and what the kids are listening to online will continue to widen. Ask anyone under 24 about Lana Del Ray and they’ll know instantly who you’re talking about. Even though she’s barely made any kind of dent in commercial radio, her indie appeal is enough for her to be the musical guest on Saturday Night Live.
This is the year streaming music services will really take off. Rdio and Slacker are already in Canada. Spotify is coming.
CDs will still be around in twelve months. Ignore all those stupid predictions that the labels will boot the compact disc this year.
There will be another glut of Christmas albums in 11 months. For the past couple of years, Christmas albums have saved the music industry’s fourth quarter. The trend will repeat in 2012.
Alan is the host of the radio show The Secret History of Rock. Reach him at email@example.com