Friday, January 04, 2008

2008 Predictions:

Radio Begins To Figure It Out: Leadership is re-emerging in the industry. People like CBS's Dan Mason and Entercom's David Field will help expand our strong brands across multiple media platforms. And we'll better learn how to sell the new found cume the People Meter is bringing to the table. Wisely, we'll stop attacking the credibility of the ratings so that national advertisers will see that we are an accountable medium worth buying. The industry, while kicking and screaming, will embrace and work to improve People Meter.

The Clear Channel Deal Will Not Close: At least not in present form. Stock will plummet and the cuts we're seeing this holiday season will only pale to what's coming when then the privatization deal fails to happen. If the deal does close, look for a drastically reduced price. The same might be said for the Cumulus deal. Frankly, this is not good for anyone. I've long believed that radio would be a healthier industry if it was operated out of the glare quarterly Wall Street reporting allowing operators to make the investments needed to improve the business.

More Label Consolidation: If that's possible. Look for Warner Brothers and EMI to finally consolidate. Unfortunately, that will mean more lost jobs in Nashville. Elvis is still turning over in his grave over the BMG/Sony Merger.

RIAA Will Continue to Assault It's Costumers: In their infinite wisdom, they will find new ways to make it even more difficult for people who will actually spend money on music to do it safely and conveniently.

CD Sections at Wal-Mart Will Continue To Shrink: Have you noticed there are fewer CD's and more DVD's at Wal-Mart, Barnes and Noble and other stores that still sell music? We're moving toward a time when all music will be accompanied by a visual.

Attempts At Further Media Deregulation Will Fail: If there's one things that conservatives and liberals can agree upon it is that they don't want media controlled by fewer and fewer people. The public is in no mood to see more consolidation, and frankly, they do seem to care.

Radio Clutter Will Be Cut: By mandate in some cases and by demand (or lack thereof) in others. Either way, these forward thinking stations will sound better.

More Pop Artists Will Tell Us They Were Always Country: As Pop sales shrink, in an effort to save their careers, watch for more Pop artists going Country especially as they approach 40. I have no problem with that, but will have to draw the line if Celine Dion sets up shop in the Music City.

Nashville Will Also Begin To Figure It Out: Major and minor labels will figure out what upstart labels like Big Machine have figured out. There needs to be a new business model. All worthwhile media and platforms will be need to be used to sell and promote Country music. Radio will remain an integral part as the special relationship radio and "records" enjoys (while strained) will continue in different and exciting ways.

Are there problems? Of course. Solutions? Not always so clear. I remain optimistic that the excitement level for those who embrace the future and creatively "figure it out" will surpass anything we've seen in the past. Get on board and enjoy the ride!