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5 Top Emerging Music Tech Trends For 2013

2013-graphicAfter a busy 2012, music tech companies across the board are set for a big 2013. Streaming music companies will engage in further struggle while tech usage trends affect how music is consumed. I've gathered 5 emerging music tech trends as examples of where things are headed in 2013.

Some things we know:

  • Music services like Spotify and Pandora will continue a war of attrition and soak up as many investor dollars as they are able.
  • The ongoing merger of the computer and tv will feature music as a prominent element as Microsoft is currently demonstrating.
  • As users shift to mobile services, converging on smartphones and tablets, other devices are falling by the wayside.

In considering emerging music tech trends I turned to a list of tech prediction posts for additional input. Specific posts are linked below when relevant.

5 Emerging Music Tech Trends For 2013

1. Concert Crowdfunding Takes Off

Though I've written about a number of possibilities for music crowdfunding in 2013, my biggest expectation is for concert crowdfunding to become strongly established in its own right:

"Though many one-off events can be satisfied with other platforms, crowdfunding tours or concert series require the equivalent of multiple crowdfunding campaigns organized for a single group or event producer. So concert crowdfunding offers a strong emergent niche platform."

2. Higher Quality Digital Music Players

With Dr. Dre and Neil Young pushing higher quality digital music, matching music players should be expected. In addition to whatever comes from Beats by Dre and Pono, Walt Mossberg mentions the Astell & Kern AK100.

In some respects this is a pushback against the move towards consolidating functions on smartphones but could be similar to vinyl's alternative to digital, not a threat but instead a pricier option for audiophiles.

3. Reversion Rights & DIY Music Tech

Though the issue of reversion rights, in which "master sound recordings' copyright licenses begin to expire for albums and can revert from labels to the artists", is not about music tech concerns, it will be affected by them. The growth of social media marketing and diy music tech alternatives has trickled up to major label artists who are increasingly exploring their independence.

The example of Metallica going indie once their masters reverted to them under a deal with WMG will not be lost on major label artists considering the possibilities. The high profile use of D2F approaches via the web by artists like Radiohead and Trent Reznor also suggests the potential for indie moves by former major label artists enabled by music tech.

4. 3D Printing Music Merch

3d printing is very much in the early stages but in both ZDNet and Silicon Republic writers speculate that this year will bring it much closer to the mainstream.

Though 3D printed records are not yet a source of bootleg vinyl, that may one day come to pass. However I'm betting that trademark issues may be first to arrive in the form of fan-created music merch such as vinyl dolls.

5. Augmented Reality Will Need Music

Multiple tech prediction posts discussed augmented reality using headsets, like Google's Project Glass, as an important trend as hardware is introduced in 2013: here, here and here. However Google Glass has been announced as only available for developers this year.

As headset AR rolls out one can expect some version of mobile apps for headsets. These will open up new music licensing possibilities as well as music apps for headsets.

Not Till 2014: Equity Crowdfunding

Not making the list is the possible effect of the JOBS act and the introduction of equity crowdfunding. Whenever it happens equity crowdfunding will quickly affect how music-related companies are funded, including business entities representing bands, but the SEC regulation process may delay implementation till 2014. Given the potential scale of equity crowdfunding, this may be the calm before the storm.

Disclaimer: Though the preceding report attempts to address certain known knowns and known unknowns, it does so in the shadow of unknown unknowns.

[Thumbnail image courtesy tEdits.]


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/ blogs about music crowdfunding at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM). To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.