I am 100% convinced that:
That Google will acquire Rdio. Just because they can. And because the licenses & audience that Rdio has will help solidify Google’s entertainment strategy. Well, that is, unless Microsoft buys Rdio first.
That YouTube’s billion dollar spend on channels / curators / production facilities will pay off in spades as users glom towards ad-supported original content, all produced at a fraction of what the movie studios & TV networks pay to make & promote shows.
That Facebook’s ad revenue will be massive in 2013. I have no problem calling them out on how EdgeRank is hurting artist / fan communications, but hope that they address this even as they develop a slew of tools built to maximize revenue on site, on mobile, and across the entire internet.
That Twitter will explode, in both user acquisition and time spent per user, if they can help users manage the firehose of content with easier List-building, combined with stronger curation of content for niches to follow & share. And they could make a ton more money if they acquired / built a robust internal enterprise-level CRM dashboard / ad measurement tool.
That Instagram will double its user base to 200 million by June — people come for the filters, but stay for the @tagging, the #search functionality, and the multi-platform posting capabilities. I have zero problem with Instagram slipping ads into the feed, but I do hope Facebook and Instagram are kept as separate entities / audiences (dreamin’).
That Yahoo should really take a hard look at making flickr the cornerstone of their social strategy, which hopefully ties together all other plans Marissa Mayer has for the company.
That Windows 8 is a bomb. It’s too radical a redesign for the common Windows user, and involves way too many swipes up / down / across to be an improvement over its predecessors.
That XBox and Playstation will continue to rule the living room. Those little video game boxes ain’t nothing but Trojan Horses on the verge of taking over how we consume content and interact with our friends around the world.
That this mobile internet thing might be a big deal some day
That instream commerce is crucial for the future financial health of the industry — anything we can do to eliminate steps in order to enable purchase / promotional sharing between fans & content will be key. Email is still the #1 way to enable any action, but as more users rely on their social streams for all their information, enabling better social sharing & commerce must follow.
That search must evolve beyond the web — that all platforms must enable better image search, social search, hashtag search, whatever it may be.
That the social visual web is already here — big duh, further evidenced by Facebook’s recent initiative to sync ALL your pictures into their system (which, btw, I would never do — love the service, but they’ve violated my trust enough times for me to keep a healthy distance).
That for all this talk of the future of the web being visual, we’re not quite there for mass-uploaded consumer video. Until infrastructure improves to build on the promise of Viddy & Vyclone, simpler services like Cinemagram will gain hold & continue to grow.
That how we use hashtags to monitor, curate, archive, and repurpose that content is the key to the futre of artist / fan (brand) relations.
That the new LiveNation.com is a step in the right direction — kudos to the Lab for bringing photos into the experience, but there is a LOT to take in, in its current iteration, which will in time refine itself into a serious socially-enabled commerce machine.
That Santa Monica (pop. 100k) would EXPLODE if it could become the second market for Google Fiber. Pilot tests in Kansas City (pop. 500k) have been overwhelmingly positive, and installing it in a smaller yet much more influential town would be a massive win for both sides. But since Google moved all its Santa Monica offices to one building in Venice, there may be forces much larger than my own dreams in play on this one.
That Rhye is next year’s Gotye — I’ve had to stop the car both times I’ve heard “The Fall” on KCRW (think Of Montreal on prozac), and it’s already showing up on Shazam’s most tagged up & comers list. Alright, it ain’t gonna be Gotye big, but it’s still a great song. And Foals? If the first single off their Feb 2013 release is any indication, they will finally deliver wide on what they’ve been building for their first couple of albums.
That despite VCs souring on the music space, new apps and products will continue to flourish. Maybe future products that benefit the industry will have music as one part of a much larger play, but pure plays like sheet music app Chromatik remind me that there are some very bright minds working hard to extend the life & profitability of the business.