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Five Predictions for the Future of Music

The future of music is bleak.

Our monstrous culture of free downloads has resulted in the Spotify-ification of the last few remaining outlets trading sound for currency. Which is to say, if you're a songwriter today, your music will either be sold for Nothing or Next to Nothing. Those two quantities will also be the only possibilities with regard to your annual income.

Correspondingly, the live music industry is also in its death throes, unless of course we're talking about the hologram of Mick Jagger's reanimated corpse or Madonna poppin' a Molly and some nip slips. But that's, like, The One Percent of popular culture. They are outliers rather than a representation of the concert industry's present climate, which, much like the global economy at large, has been in a WTF OMG tailspin since forever.

The whole shebang has been self-destructing ever since the CD bubble done got popped by Napster's extra pointy safety pin. In a world filled with perpetual war and an increasing number of interconnected environmental crises, I predict the future of music will be absolutely harrowing.

In the Future, There Will Be No Vinyl

In the era of Record Store Day, MTV may appear to be straight jabronin' in this special from the '80s. But don't let trend fetishism fool you: Peak oil and the singularity will ensure that nobody will spend their free time listening to vinyl records.

In the Future, Holograms Will Supplant Fleshy Entertainers

In this eloquent and long-winded explication of one potential scenario for the unraveling of music as we know it, Vice columnist Sam McPheeters envisions the primary sonic experience being mediated through holograms and gaming consoles. He makes a compelling argument, and his vision is grim enough to hope nuclear annihilation comes first.

In the Future, You Will Download Music Directly Into Your Brain. And You Will Like It.

We can already assume that the singularity is inevitable. But let us postulate that the fusion of humankind with hardware results in the forging of techno-organic entities with an aesthetic appreciation for sound. In that case, we'll all be one interconnected culture of organic cyberflesh kombucha floating around a yeasty mother mainframe that is now at the core of all human experience. And jams will just, like, be there we want them to be.

Of course, this is all highly unlikely, because not only do androids not dream of electric sheep, they don't dream at all. That's cause they're androids! As in robots! Relatedly, they don't listen to music. Did you ever see Data cue up some Stravinsky on the iPod implanted in his wrist? Or C-3PO drop a needle on some Captain Beefheart?

In the Future, Dubstep Will Be Mistaken by Aliens as a Declaration of War

The antagonistic presence of mean-spirited extraterrestrials will forever change the already completely bewildering landscape of the Skrillex mosh pit.

In the Future, Digital Recording Technology Achieves Sentience and Immediately Embarks on Genetic Cleanse of Human Scum

Yo, we probably deserve it.

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