In chat on Sunday we were discussing what may be ahead and thought it would be a good idea to post some predictions for 2008.
The past year has been a doozy - but what about the next 12 months? Let me look into my trusty crystal ball as I go into a deep trance and spew forth my predictions:
The World at Large:
There will be technological advances and also continued war and strife, earthquakes, hurricanes and volcanoes. And uncertain and economic conditions lie ahead will cause trepidation and...
Wait.....that happens every year! So let's focus on the community, music and technology...
Technology Trends that will Impact Music:
Flash Drives will replace hard drives. 2008 will bring solid-state hard drives (based on flash memory instead of the usual spinning disc disks). Now available in some notebooks (Eee) they will enter the mainstream in a big way. Faster, lower resource, and more stable drives for your samples!Sampling in the Year(s) Ahead:
Lower Prices for Hardware. There will be lower price points in computers. We are seeing $198 computers at Wal-mart and inexpensive offerings at Dell and elsewhere.
USB 3 and Firewire S3200. USB 3.0 will deliver more than ten times the speed of the existing USB 2.0 standard. Firewire is also upping the ante. This will trickle down into a whole host of DAW and music apps (perhaps moreso in 2009)
Windows-Mac-Linux. Mac and Linux market share will continue to rise. Windows users will finally start switching to Vista as the troubled OS becomes usable (with SP1 and moreso with SP2). Because Linux is free, it may become a preferred operating system for low-end computers and mobile/custom devices.
Displays. Multi-touch displays (like iPhone and MS Surface) will make their way to the music world. Mixing apps with multi-touch faders and truly virtual instruments (that can be played on the display) will make appearances.
Music Education. The world will rethink the entire gamut of education. Interactive lessons and community-based learning, (like the Rimsky-Korsakov and Jazz Arranging course on the forum), the OLPC program, real-time learning over the net, distributed learning, interactive discussions in chat, etc. - is revolutionizing music learning. Learning will continue to make the leap from location-based to internet-based and expect to see more music courses online.
Ultra Mobile Computers. Personal Computers are getting smaller. Laptops have already come into vogue. Now we'll see a plethora of ultra-mobiles and mobile devices (like the iPhone and Eee) grow in popularity. Sampling and software instruments will eventurally migrate to these devices. Mobile web usage will become ubiquitous and standard. We'll be more and more connected but untethered from the old beige box computers.
Print. People will increasing get their information online. Print media and magazines will face increasingly difficult times ahead.
Music Industry. 2008 will likely bring more woe for the major record labels. Sales of CDs will continue to plummet as online music is now the primary way music is distributed. The RIAA may have made things worse for the industry. More and more artists will bypass record labels entirely and look for big acts to go entirely independent.
Hybrid Intelligent Performance-based Instruments (HIPIs). We'll see more performance-based instruments using smaller footprints and more programming. Performance-based instruments (like the Strad, Gofriller, and JABB instruments) will become more common. Hybrid sampling/modeling will become more prevalent and sample pools shrink as you will do much more with far less samples. Developers will implement more midi performance routines, instrument body resonances, synthesis, modeling and DSP into their instruments. Synthesis and modeling like WIVI and Synful will only get better and you'll see more synth based instruments (as other companies are actively working on this). Customized software instruments with better algorithmic modeling and more musical intelligence will set hyper-real standards. The HIPI movement is alive and well in 2008!What are your predictions?
Downloadable content. It is becoming increasingly common to download gigabytes galore from the net. We will see more sample products being offered as downloads (like the Garritan Reason Refill, Worra DirectDownloads and Sonivox downloadable instruments in 2007). Most sample developers will eventually offer downloadable content. No longer limited by geographical and shipping considerations, you will be able to buy your sounds and be up an running minutes thereafter.
Copy Protection. A new type of copy protection will appear that is easy, intuitive and doesn't give users a bad experience or treat them like criminals.
Musical Chairs in the Sample Industry - More Choices and Lower Prices. Music companies will most likely consolidate, shuffle and re-align. There will be no standardization of sampling platforms in the coming year. If anything, the industry will continue to splinter and fracture as existing sample platforms loose ground and become less relevant. The host application (sequencer/notation/etc) will become the important platform and samples/samplers will serve (and be better integrated with) the hosts. Notation programs will become more like sequencers, and vice versa. And almost every sequencer will integrate its own bundled dedicated sampler (like Cubase/Halion, DP/Mach5, Logic/EXS, Cakewalk/Dimension, etc) and we'll see more "free" samplers (like Structure Free, Independence Free, Satellite Free, etc).
Expect to see more sample libraries and software instruments. Many new libraries will be released in 2008 and this will saturate the already crowded market. Intense competition and an uncertain economy will exert downward pressure on prices. This will be good for musicians. Developers who innovate will continue to thrive.
New-fangled Controllers. We'll begin to see new controllers as software instruments get tactile and human interaction gets better. The bottle-neck in realism is no longer in the samples but in the limitations of input and human control. We'll see more affordable wind controllers, percussion, and controllers (like the Zen drum and Tenori). Keyboard controllers will improve bringing expression to the next level. Wii, Rock Band and Guitar Hero show us what could be done on a consumer level. New types of musical instrument controllers and integrated programming will push the envelope in terms of how we humans interact with samples and allow player immersion in new ways. Sample developers will develop for these new breed of instruments. High Definition MIDI will also finalize and companies will begin designing products for it (e.g. us).
Expect things coming from left field - some really interesting stuff that we'll all be in awe of. It's going to get wild and crazy.
Now it's time for you to tell us your predictions for 2008.
A Happy 2008 to all.