“Wow – 2010 was quite a year!” (11 Happenings for 2010)

Over the past few weeks, the music bloggers and industry experts have been putting out their lists for everything that happened in 2009 and predictions for 2010.  Well, I like to try to stay a step ahead, so I am going to go ahead and write my Top Ten Happenings for 2010.  The year may be a few weeks old, but it’s over for me!

  1. Why not start with the biggest – Apple launched a streaming subscription service! I know, I’m really going out on a limb with this one (especially given Apple’s purchase of Lala) but I promise to make a bolder iTunes prediction below.
  2. Spotify launched in the US with only a very limited, scaled down free version (30 day trial?) and became larger than iTunes in more than 50% of the EU territories where they are both live.
  3. Terra Firma spun off EMI Publishing as a public entity and sold EMI Music to Warner Music Group at a 50% discount to the purchase price (the value of just the recorded music side – so probably less than $1b now).
  4. Amazon bought eMusic and Microsoft/Zune bought Real/Rhapsody
  5. Google’s new Nexus phone actually began to compete with the iPhone, taking 8-10% market share in the US by the end of the year (I don’t think it is a coincidence that this is similar to Amazon’s digital market share after the first year in operation)
  6. Independent labels increased market share by 3% in North America; they have hadmore access to distribution and more major label artists have been dropped.
  7. An ISP in Europe or Canada became the first one to charge it’s users a monthly surcharge for unlimited music based on amount of consumption – it seems to work for mobile phones and cable TV, so why not music?
  8. Mid-year 2010 marked the low point for sales in the industry – my god they have started to rise again!
  9. Everything eBooks, Apps and online TV/films! Digital music is so 5 minutes ago.
  10. And finally… Since I promised it. iTunes allowed music to be sold as part of a subscription service directly from an artist application – finally merging the app, subscription models and music downloads into one product.
  11. iTunes launched “MyTunes” where you can customize and design your own iTunes store so that you only see content from labels and artists that you want to see and purchase. – Oh, I couldn’t resist one more iTunes speculation

-Robb McDaniels, Founder & CEO, INgrooves