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What Will The Next Decade In Music Look Like?

image from dondodge.typepad.com That's a big question. One that I promise that I don't have the answer to. It's provoked by the fact that ten years ago this week, Shawn Fanning graced the cover of Time Magazine. The cover raised the question, "What's Next For Napster?" Indeed, by now, most of us know that story all too well. Both Steve Knopper and Greg Kot wrote at great length about the changes that Napster brought forth and how it reshaped our culture and industry. This got me thinking, in ten more years—twenty years after the rise of Napster and social epidemic of file-sharing that proceeded it—what will we all be talking about?

Will Spotify have made a tremendous impact on the US market and shifted the ranges of social behavior among the next generation? Or, will the Copyright Wars still be going on strong? Will the sky fall and prove that maybe the record industry—this story's Chicken Little—was right? Or, will the future of music be fine, just very different? Will we have created a more sustainable social ecology of music culture online and nurtured a middle-class of musicians that the listening public can support? How many things that we could've never grasped in the present will transform the future? What is the next iPod? Is there even one?

And by iPod, I don't necessary mean a digital technology as much as I mean the thing that causes another generation to fall in love with music all over again.

These are important questions—that none of us knows the answer to. In my last interview with Greg, he argued that this next ten years should be to be as eventful and climatic as the last. That while his book Ripped told an important story, there's another one waiting to be written about the things to come because the fireworks have just begun. I think that's a fascinating takeaway and would be curious to hear your opinions about what story a book like that should tell.

What stories are missing from our current books? Which stories have yet to be told? Above all, what will the next decade in music hold for us?


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