It seems obvious that music tech in 2012 will be a growing field of activity with more investment and business attention. Trends will center around the implications of ubiquitous music enabled by streaming from the cloud to multiple devices. Augmented reality will continue to see its strongest development in audio as the scannable environment is remixed. Music hack days will receive increasing mainstream and major label attention as mini-incubators. Live performance will continue to grow interconnected with the web.
Ubiquitous Streaming Music from the Cloud
A rich terrain of free and subscription-focused cloud-based music streaming services, featuring both licensing and storage/upload models, emerged in 2011. These always-on, mobile accessible services will be a key feature of 2012 as they seek to find sustainable business models.
Inception The App - Travelling Dream
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. trendwatching.com does a nice job of illustrating this shift.
But it's with the work of groups like RjDj and a focus on augmented reality as a form of remixing one's audio environment as seen in the video above that the potential of augmented audio reality can be realized. The Fresh Push Play iPhone App offers another.
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.
Hack Days and Open Music
The proliferation of music hack days will become a way for corporate forces to wrap their heads around innovation. They will potentially be treated as public research labs with such events as midemlab's upcoming edition of Music Hack Day helping legitimize their open approach. The positive aura of companies that provide access to music, such as EMI and Spotity, will continue to drive corporate involvement.
Live Performance & the Web
Though the recent growth of live performance can, in part, be viewed as a countermeasure to life on the web, the perspective of Donna Hood Crecca writing for the Very Important Beverage Executives Newsletter shows how intertwined live and the web have become:
"From comedians to emerging bands, live acts are hot. Prompt unit management to check out performers' fans on Facebook and view YouTube videos when booking to see the size of their followings and how they're marketing their appearances and leverage that reach to drive traffic into the bar."
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.
Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at All World Dance and This Business of Blogging. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.