12 Things That Won’t Happen In 2017 (My Music Industry Anti-Predictions)

music industry
  • Save

What won’t be happening in the music industry next year?

If you’re hoping for big things next year, you might just get them.  But temper your expectations, my friend.  Here are my anti-predictions for 2017.

1. Wireless headphones won’t take over the world (yet).

Just because Apple ripped out the headphone jack doesn’t mean we’re playing along.  Already, wireless headphones and earbuds are strong sellers, especially amongst the most active of users.  And Samsung is pondering a jack-less phone as well.

The only problem is that Bluetooth sucks!

So do things like a $69 charge for a single Apple AirPod replacement.  And it won’t get any better in 2017.  Which means a lot of people will wait, and even stick with their trusty, wired Apple earbuds.  This won’t be a clean transition, at least until the technology gets better, and the prices come down.

2. Apple won’t close its iTunes download store (yet).

Once January rolls around, you’ll be shocked at how much song downloading has declined in 2016.  But that’s nothing compared to how steep the decline will be in 2017.  Even so, Apple will drag its feet at least until 2018 to close iTunes music downloads.

Apple is a huge corporation.  There are simply too many politics involved, and too many bands and labels clinging on.  And not enough Steve Jobs to cut things off.

3. Streaming music won’t reach 250 million paying subscribers.

We’ve always said that 250 million paying subscribers is when the music industry really starts the change.  And we’re already at 100 million.  But getting people to pay is hard, especially since the most willing. die-hard music buyers have already crossed over.

200 million?  Maybe.  250 million?  Not in 2017.  But it’s getting there.

4. The Grammys will not be spectacular.

Maybe we’ll get some Kanye or Frank Ocean drama.  But you’ll also be sitting through a three-song Beyonce medley (or flipping the channel).

5. ‘Spotify screws artists!’ will finally die.

It won’t be the war cry anymore.  Just today, the Black Keys licensed their music to Spotify.  And they were calling Sean Parker an ‘asshole,’ while blasting Spotify for ‘stealing from artists,’ just a few years ago!

Now, it’s about survival.  And if you’re not on Spotify, you’re slowly disappearing.  Even Neil Young got that memo in 2016.  Which means the holdouts are basically over.  Streaming destroyed the artist.

6. The Trump Inauguration is not gonna rock.

Looks like it’s Jackie Evancho and Andrea Bocelli.  A not even a ‘f–k you’ encore from Kid Rock!

7. The music industry won’t change YouTube.

Google is too big.  Even YouTube is too big for the music industry to change.  And artists don’t want another losing war against technology (right or wrong).   Which means YouTube is all about exposure and micro-penny payments, in 2017 and beyond.

 8. Vinyl won’t disappoint.

Don’t believe the anti-hype!  At worst, the vinyl records explosion cools a little bit.  But there’s now a core of vinyl enthusiasts that will keep the party going.

Even better: get ready for a major technological development that could change this format forever.  I’ll leave it at that.

 9. Songwriting lawsuits won’t go away.

They’ll only increase.  So get ready for an all-out war, all thanks to Marvin Gaye’s heirs.  Innocent songwriters will be slaughtered.  Superstar singers will have their hits plundered by marauding lawyers.

It’s one of the reasons why robots will replace the songwriters.  Well, not in 2017, but maybe by 2020 (I’m not joking).

10. Streaming will grow; the number of streaming companies won’t.

Spotify is wildly over-leveraged, but don’t expect a bubble-pop (unless there’s a much bigger bubble-pop).  Instead, expect 1-3 major streaming services to completely disappear or get acquired.  Think Tidal, Napster, even SoundCloud.

Streaming is an 80,000 gorilla’s game.  Which means if you’re not Google, Apple, Spotify, Pandora, or Amazon, good luck out there.

11. Say goodbye to the social media product placement advertising bubble.

This one’s a little difficult to call.  But $500,000-a-pop social media advertising spots might start to disappear in 2017.  Already, you’re seeing Snapchat strategically discouraging product placement on celebrity accounts.  And the FTC is trying to clamp down on this.

12. Investors won’t be as scared of music anymore.

There are a couple of reasons for this.  Remember: Spotify is fattening the bird for a ginormous IPO.  And now, one of their biggest investors, Goldman Sachs, is basically part of the Trump Administration (funny how that works).  All of which opens the possibility of a monstrous Wall Street offering, and a lot of re-perked investor interest.

Add a decided shift away from constant piracy bashing (and lawsuits), and money might come back into this space.  Just have your decks ready, gentleman (and ladies).


Image by Larry Kwan, CC by 2.0.

6 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    “The music industry won’t change YouTube.”

    But the EU will.

  2. Anonymous

    “robots will replace the songwriters”

    That’s an interesting idea — how is that going to happen?

    • Paul Resnikoff

      going to happen?

      It’s already starting. For starters, only a machine can strategically analyze every hit and diagnose their commonalities. And, all the while, scanning against any possible copyright infringement. It’s a major label wet dream.

      Not all songwriting. Because it’s always a fun thing. Oh, and there will be a big debate between human vs. AI songwriting. But, leaps in AI will make this a reality sooner than you imagine.

  3. Nicky Knight's thoughts


    1. The even bigger return of the Philips Compact Audio Cassette format
    especially for indy labels and artists

    2. iTunes surprises the skeptics and paid music downloads still sell a million plus per title for the huge blockbuster hits of 2017

    3. Spotify and Apple Music streaming increases it’s paid customer base by
    20 ~ 50 per cent

    4. A new hit music production team jumps right out of the box with some super hits and gives Max Martin a run for his money..

    5. Printed Newspapers in US, CA, Aust, NZ, UK start to shut down their printing presses and go exclusively on-line because hardly anyone buys newspapers anymore and it’s becoming a dinosaur.

    6. Radio hits become shorter and shorter with 2 minute songs becoming more popular with radio playlisters and Internet music streamers..

    7. Wealthy foreign companies and individuals buy up more and more residential and commercial real estate, farms, food production businesses and other assets.

    Local people will struggle to afford the new inflated prices of houses in their

    8. Portland, Oregon becomes the new place to be for the creative community who can no longer afford LA, SF or NYC.

    9. Everyone wants to move to Australia (except those who’ve made the move to Oregon)

    10. The world economy has another crash..

  4. asdf

    Why does this site keep trashing wireless/bluetooth headphones? It’s really time to stop the exaggerated outrage.

    I have a pair of Jaybird X2 wireless earbuds that sound great. Just as good as any expensive audiophile wired earbuds I’ve ever used, and definitely MUCH better than the crappy wired Apple earbuds included with iPhones/iPods. Plus, no wires to snag on things or break (a constant problem while doing chores or on the daily subway commute). I used to go through multiple wired earbuds every year because of everyday wear and tear. I’ve had one pair of Jaybird X2’s all year and they still sound great, with no degradation in holding a charge, and no sign of wear and tear at all.

    Seriously, there is no reason to pine over wired earbuds or headphones. Wireless can actually be a much better value.

  5. cuntybollox

    why did apple go wireless? simples: bluetooth headphones outsold wired headphones in the US over the first half (I think) of 2016.

    so I think yr wrong on point 1


    who cares?