12 Music Business Predictions for 2012

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Photo by Robert Bejil
Where were we? Oh yeah, crystal ball and prophesies. You ready for this? OK. What follows is a list of events we expect to befall the music industry in 2012. Yes, these are etched in stone and should be regarded as gospel. Full prophetic titillation ahead.

1. Sales sag on
We wish we had good news for you here, but we don't. The future still looks less than rosy. The album isn't entirely dead, though; it's still in ICU and labels are on all fours, praying to every god in existence for a miracle. The bump in digital sales helps. But digital revenue isn't rising fast enough to fill the gulf created by low CD sales. Besides, a good portion of digital growth is in individual units and other formats not named album, e.g. iTunes' build-your-own-album feature.

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Photo by Marco Torres
Alicia Keys
2. Major cartels downsize
We're now down to three major cartels: UMG, Sony, and Warner. If Warner accepts Sony's rumored marriage proposal, we'll be looking at just two. Even sub-labels are gobbling up sub-sub-labels. Take RCA, for instance. Peter Edge assumed the mantle over there and immediately axed the three labels under his banner (Jive, Arista and J Records). Artists from all three rosters--Justin Timberlake, Ke$ha, and Alicia Keys, among them--were bequeathed to RCA Music. Expect EMI to do the same to its own labels. We'll soon be saying "bye bye" to: Virgin, Capitol, and Blue Note. It's strictly an economic move. These guys want to cut costs, explore digital distribution, and expand their operations. Edge won't even call RCA a record label because that's just too...restrictive. His vision, the vision of every music exec in business today, is to expand beyond the business of selling music.

3. Indies boom
The allure of a major deal will always be too enticing to resist. But not for long. 2012 will be the year people figure out the difference between indies and majors (mostly leg work vs exposure), and we'll see a gradual migration from majors to indies. Success stories, like Mac Miller's #1 debut, will give new artists fresh impetus to go independent.

4. Adios, DRM
Are we still discussing Digital Rights Management? What is this, 2001? Drop the damn thing already, will ya?


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6 comments
Alex Coulstring
Alex Coulstring

You either going to grow with the way the music industry or you are going to sit back and cry about it. I choose move forward!

VongMee
VongMee

Really makes me wonder who comes up with that nonsense lol.www.Total-Privacy dot US

L1ghtwarri0r
L1ghtwarri0r

I like number 9, Artist Building . How did, say, Pitbull go from nowhere to sharing the stage with J-LO?  Artist building.. Specially guys who cannot sing, cannot dance and never played an instrument...Yep.

At some point you may want to google "Rain Man" plus "Music Industry" and wise up.   What you will see there is much more efficient than your "Artist building"..

Mario
Mario

I love number 7. 

Rizoh
Rizoh

Name one guy or gal who can't sing, can't dance, never played an instrument who's super successful right now.

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