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Friday, December 17, 2010

Who Figured Out What In 2010?

Isn't that what we're all trying to do here - figure things out? Well, here are just a few puzzle pieces that the industry put together in 2010. . .

(1) Arcade Fire
This was the year that Arcade Fire (and Quest Management and Scott Rodger) scored a number one album in the US, and they did it without a major label. This has been years in the making, and Arcade has been steadily figuring out their own constellation of partners to achieve their recording, publishing, touring, marketing, and musical goals. It's a totally different type of 360, and it proved itself in 2010.

And who helped them on the digital side? Read on...

(2) Ian Rogers / Topspin
Topspin used to be at the vanguard of the label-free, DIY artist revolution. But 2010 was the year that Ian Rogers and Topspin realized that "ProTools for the Music Masses" wasn't a reasonable proposition.

And Rogers started saying it out loud, not just to his investors. "Our customers are not artists, our customers are marketers," Rogers said over the summer. "Pro Tools was the tool for professional producers and engineers first and foremost. Did a ton of artists learn how to use it? Absolutely. But they built and marketed the product for pros first. That's our approach as well."

(3) Apple
Who knew there was action between the smartphone and computer, but this was the year that Apple filled the void. The iPad was released in April, and more than 8 million units later, this looks like a bona fide hit. But can anyone figure out what this means for artists and the music industry?

(4) The Venture Capital Community
Investors have long been wary of music-related startups, and many firms pulled their cash out years ago. But this year, it really seemed to click. Simply put: VCs figured out that any startup whose success is dependent upon label or publisher licensing is a sure-fire #fail. And short-cutting through infringement isn't such a viable alternative, either.

(5) BigChampagne
A chart based solely on airplay and sales was half-baked at best. Which is why BigChampagne started pouring a lot more into the algorithm, and along the way, figured out what a more holistic ranking would look like. The Ultimate Chart is just a few months old, but already spawning imitators from Billboard, MTV Networks, and others.

(6) Corey Smith
This is the year that DIY demi-god Corey Smith figured out that doing-it-yourself has its limits. A collaborative venture with Average Joes Entertainment was inked last month, and the pair is now figuring out how to take Smith to the next level.

So, who else figured something out in 2010? What did YOU figure out this year?