This post comes from my friends at Mashable:
The music industry continued suffering its hardcore identity crisis in 2010, buffeted by the languishing major labels, continued leaks/file-sharing and that most confusing of conundrums: How to get music to fans in a way that makes sense — without losing money.
Still, despite the industry’s continuing difficulty to adapt to the digital age in a truly profitable way, we have seen some stirrings of change: the expansion of the online music video oeuvre, more creative and diverse methods of releasing albums (via Ping, Facebook and even mobile apps), and more mainstream, established publications and institutions embracing social media all the more.
There’s a lot of noise out there in the music world — and we’re not just talking about the genre — and we’re all hoping that out of that tangle of ideas and sounds comes the antidote that will fix a system that is so obviously in flux. Although I don’t quite see that antidote being concocted this coming year, I do see more trial and error and creativity brewing that could, in the end, lead to the music industry’s eventual rebirth. Either that or it will all implode and we’ll live in eternal silence, but somehow I doubt it.
And with that I bring you my predictions for 2011.
1. Subscription Services Will Be Popular, But Not Profitable
If Spotify’s $26.7 million loss in 2009 is any indication, subscription services still have a ways to go before they’ll actually become profitable. Hell, Last.fm isn’t even turning a profit yet — although it could be getting close.
Still, this year and the end of last year saw services gaining even more steam — MOG launched its all-you-can-eat service in December, followed by Android and iPhone apps, and, most recently, an app in the Chrome Web Store. Rdio also launched to much excitement, and Slacker Radio announced that it would be launching an on-demand offering as well (possibly across a variety of devices to be unveiled at CES).
Yes, streaming music services have been around for a while now, but what’s changed in the past year is the number of devices you can access them on — everything from the iPad to Roku to the Xbox Kinect to the upcoming Chrome OS devices. The ability to listen to music on-demand across a variety of devices is sure to be a hit among consumers — it just remains to be seen how these services will monetize. Continue reading