Last year I made a number of predictions regarding top music tech trends for 2012. I focused on streaming music, augmented reality, ecommerce, hack days and the relationship of live performance to the web. Looking back I can see they were a mix of somewhat obvious themes and out of left field contenders with the best part being the surprises I would not have predicted.
Reality Checking 5 Top Music Tech Trends For 2012
Prediction: Ubiquitous Streaming Music from the Cloud - always-on, mobile accessible services will be a key feature of 2012 as they seek to find sustainable business models."
Reality Check: This was probably obvious to everybody at the time but the continued dominance of the news cycle by such entities as Spotify and Pandora as well as the vigorous discussions related to compensation and transparency have kept this topic in the center of things.
Prediction: Augmented Reality: From QR Codes to Scannable Environments - Augmented reality is shifting from tools such as QR codes to the view that the environment can be treated as a scannable surface with multiple forms of input."
Reality Check: A lot of development has occurred in this area that heads away from marketing tools and into environmental art terrain. But the majority of this activity has been outside of and peripheral to the music industry.
Prediction: Ecommerce Everywhere - The cloud is also enabling the widespread distribution of ecommerce and direct to fan options for music and merch sales across the web whether in one's Facebook stream or on a separate website."
Reality Check: This sector continues to grow both in terms of music-specific ecommerce and more general categories of ecommerce facilitating both digital and physical sales. In particular, a number of lightweight, quick and easy ecommerce options became available that could be used for sales of single items or releases by indie artists at any point of contact on the web.
Prediction: Hack Days and Open Music - The proliferation of music hack days will become a way for corporate forces to wrap their heads around innovation."
Reality Check: Fairly lackluster prediction. I also expected some sort of mainstreaming process and that seemed possible with such events as Backplane's Managers Hack at SXSW but Music Hack Days have mostly continued in their own alternate universe of developers.
Prediction: Live Performance & the Web - Live performance will continue to benefit from being perceived as an alternative to the web and related communication networks and by effectively being connected to such networks."
Reality Check: Though live continued to be crucial to the industry with music festivals having a good year in the States (not so good in the UK), a merger of live and online in the form of live streaming shows was a strongly emerging phenomenon from small gatherings of fans to live streaming of major events on the web.
Maybe I played it a little safe last year. Later this week, I'll try going out on a limb with my music tech predictions for 2013.
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