Headliner’s Top 10 Music Industry Predictions For 2010

1) Bands and Artists Will Take a Greater Role in Marketing and Promoting Themselves.

Record labels, especially majors, will dramatically reduce the money they spend on marketing. Concurrently, the tools necessary to efficiently market an artist are rapidly becoming more accessible and economical. 2010 will be a year in which artists get in the driver’s seat.

2) The Cost to Reach Millions of New Fans Will be Accessible To Bands and Artists of All Sizes.

When rap group Get Busy Committee released their album online, they offered a discount on iTunes to anyone who tweeted about it. The resultant tweets made their song “My Little Razorblade” the most tweeted about song that day. The move was an effective gimmick, but within the next year, standardized programs will allow artists and bands to reach millions of fans through social media for less than the cost of a new amp.

3) The Web Will Become a More Real-Time Medium.

News happens all the time. Why wait until the day after a concert to read about it when you can read about it now? Why email a spreadsheet to a co-worker in California when you can work on it simultaneously, on different computers 3000 miles apart? Google is retooling its search results to include shit that gets Tweeted about. GoogleWave, Live Blogging, Microblogging, iPhone and Droid applications will all make the web more of a real-time medium in 2010, making it easier than ever for fans and artists to interact.

4) Real Time Promotions Will Become More Effective Than Email Marketing.

With more analytic tools, such as Headliner’s available at low or no cost, musicians will be able to more effectively target audiences. Real time promotions through social media will become more effective than email marketing in 2010.

5) The Online Music Video Industry Will Continue to Grow.

How a station can operate under the “Music Television” moniker when its greatest attraction is watching gel-heads roid rage on the Jersey Shore is beyond me, but it is certainly profitable. MTV has already done away with TRL, its former flagship TV show, in a successful move to boost ratings. While TV music video shows are quickly becoming a thing of the past, the costs associated with making a professional quality music video are dropping. Vevo started airing videos by Universal this fall, but look for independent artists to make awesome videos in 2010 as online music video watching continues to rise.

6) One or More Major Labels Will Merge.

The bankers who own EMI at Citibank have announced that they are seeking buyers for EMI’s debt. Warner has coveted EMI for a while, so an EMI Warner merger seems the most plausible. Other transactions between the Big 4 are not out of the question. Look for the Big 4 (EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner) to become the Big 3 by year’s end.

7) The Music Making Process Will Be Turned Back into the Arms of Passionate Executives and Music Will be Better For It.


More targeted promotions will make it possible for artists to reach fans in the small niches who are passionate about their music. Making music that 1 in 10,000 people feel passionately about, but alienates the average consumer used to mean being a commercial failure, a cult classic destined to fade into obscurity. With more effective methods of targeting the minority of people who would love your music, cult artists will be able to generate more revenue. Think fans of Yeasayer will like your music? Only target them. Have a show at the University of Delaware? Target people who live there.  This shift will allow more personalized music to succeed and industry veterans who put music first, ala Ahmet Ertegun, will regain control.

8 ) Data Will Become the New Online Currency

Knowledge is power and data on trending topics will be as valuable as gold in the coming decade. High powered analytics will become increasingly prevalent and accessible, and artists will have more scientific means to track the success, failure and click through rates of their online reach outs.

9) Vinyl Sales Will Continue to Increase

2009 marked the highest year in vinyl sales in two decades. When people want a physical product they are increasingly attracted to the aesthetic allure, characteristic heft, and sound quality of vinyl. Look for vinyl sales to increase in 2010 in the face of flagging CD sales.

10) Bands and Artists Will Be Able to Leverage and Manage Their Social Net and Mobile Promotions From a Single I-Phone Application

ArtistData, Topspin, ReverbNation and Bandcamp all already provide artists with the tools to efficiently manage everything your band does from a single site. Headliner.fm gives you the power to cross promote with other artists to reach new fans at a cost any group can afford. Some of these companies will flop, and some will succeed but artists will be managing all of their social media from one dashboard by year’s end.