Final Score: A Look Back at the 2011 Music Predictions

Because many of you (most of you) center your lives around my annual music predictions (and why wouldn’t you?) I’m starting the process early this year by recapping last year’s predictions. Look, if I haven’t got it right yet, I’m not going to in the next two weeks (Hang in there, Courtney). So with that, let the scoring begin:

2011 Music Prediction: Apple will announce that iTunes now lives “in the cloud.” All your iTunes music will be available on any Mac, PC or iPhone/iPod with 3G/4G or Wi-Fi connectivity.

Reality: Direct hit.

2011 Prediction: Music no longer will be sold in units, but in subscription format -- all the music in the world on your speakers or earbuds for just $10 a month.

Reality: Say hello to Spotify.

2011 Prediction: This new music subscription format will mark the end of illegal downloading.

Reality: Too early to say, but one recent report said that in Sweden, the number of Spotify users surpassed the number illegal music downloaders in a mere three months after the service was launched.

2011 Prediction: Artists no longer will be paid based on album or singles’ sales, but on how often online services play their music. Record “labels” will become full-time promotion companies whose goal is to get their artists’ music streamed as much as possible.

Reality: The dream of CD revenues hasn’t lost its luster.

2011 Prediction: Publishing rights fees paid for music used in TV commercials or movies and TV will dry up. Instead, artists will begin to pay producers to get their music used in commercials and movies just to gain exposure.

Reality: It ain’t happening…yet.

2011 Prediction: The death of terrestrial radio as a music promotion tool will mean the rebirth of music videos.

Reality: Despite a lack of television or cable outlets (MTV died as a music channel years ago) more bands are making videos than ever, thanks to grassroots production companies like our own Love Drunk and Ingrained studios providing content to Vimeo and YouTube.

2011 Prediction: Big-league commercial artists will post their playlists online or in Rolling Stone to spotlight new or unknown artists.

Reality: Unfortunately, that ain’t happening.

2011 Prediction: CD prices will drop below $10, resulting in a brief resurgence in record stores. However, the audience for cheap CDs is dying off, literally. And the last kick in the crotch will be when automakers quit offering CD players as standard equipment.

Reality: CDs dropped in price, but not that much; and carmakers continue to offer CD players, though autos are becoming more 3G/4G connected. Watch out.

2011 Prediction: Artists we’ll be talking about this time next year: Bright Eyes, Deathcab for Cutie, Justin Timberlake, U2, Cat Power, Beastie Boys, Madonna, Tilly and the Wall, Decemberists, Commander Venus, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship, Dismemberment Plan, Beck, Radiohead, Animal Collective, Conduits and Grasshopper Takeover.

Reality: About 50/50 correct. We’re still waiting for those Commander Venus and Grasshopper Takeover reunions. 

2011 Prediction: Artists we won’t be talking about next year: Lady Gaga, Kanye, Eminem, Ke$ha, Susan Boyle, Arcade Fire, The Beatles, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Bruno Mars, M.I.A., Wavves, Best Coast, The National, Sleigh Bells, Vampire Weekend, Sufjan Stevens and The Faint.

Reality: Direct miss.

2011 Prediction: All of Courtney Love’s problems will be solved once and for all.

Reality: She’s still kicking.

2011 Prediction: The Red Sky Music Festival’s ticket sales will fall below their projected target in its first year.

Reality: It’s safe to say that the festival was a financial (and artistic) disappointment, but it’ll be back in 2012.

2011 Prediction: MAHA will take fewer chances for fear of messing up all the good it accomplished in 2010, and ticket sales will suffer.

Reality: Though a solid line-up (headlined by GBV), it wasn’t very risky, and ticket sales were flat compared to 2010.

2011 Prediction: With the surge of local online music news outlets, a couple will fail to catch traction and will quit updating content. One will emerge as the true winner.

Reality:, and are boiling to the top, while old-timer continues to decline.

2011 Prediction: At least one local over-the-air radio station will commit to a CMJ-style indie rock format.

Reality: Uh, no.

2011 Prediction: Another long-time local music venue will be gobbled up by a developer.

Reality: O’Leaver’s will outlive us all.

2011 Prediction: Homer’s Records will have one of its best years in recent memory and will consider opening a new storefront in Benson.

Reality: The Homer’s chain was reduced to a single storefront in ’11.

2011 Prediction: Saddle Creek Records will add another local band to its roster.

Reality: In fact, the Creek passed on two of the city’s hottest acts – So-So Sailors and Conduits.

2011 Prediction: Another band will emerge from Linoma and attract national attention, and it won’t be a Saddle Creek act.

Reality: Can we count Emphatic?

2011 Prediction: An enterprising young local businessperson will launch a new subscription-based vinyl records club, like Grapefruit Records.

Reality: No subscription label, but Rainy Road and Doom Town emerged as new vinyl playas.

2011 Prediction: A new band will emerge consisting of the progeny of members of a classic local ’90s-era band.

Reality: What about Omaha Girls Rock!?

2011 Prediction: A new live music venues will open along Maple Street in Benson. Another will open as the first serious live music venue west of 72nd Street since The Ranch Bowl.

2011 Prediction: The City of Omaha will get behind the return of a “youth concert” in Memorial Park.

2011 Prediction:  Lady Gaga will return to Nebraska, for her wedding.

2011 Prediction:  Bright Eyes will get nominated for a Grammy.

No, no, no and no. So the final count (by my skewed math) is around 11 for 25. Not, uh, good. But check back in three years and see how many come true. And look for my 2012 predictions in a couple weeks.

Lazy-i is a weekly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on the Omaha music scene. Check out Tim's daily music news updates at his website,, or email him at

posted at 04:00 pm
on Tuesday, December 20th, 2011


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