Well, 2010 is all said and done. Good music, bad music, etc, etc. So what do we have for 2011?
As with the years before it, 2011 will continue the industry’s shift towards digital. Perhaps. Digital sales still grew last year, but not by much. Then again, by this point in the game, a lot of the holdouts on digital sales have caved, meaning that buying online isn’t the cutting edge thing it was five years ago. On the flipside, records and stores that sell them are becoming more and more a niche community each year, and vinyl sales are still growing.
It’s still pretty early in the year, so a lot of releases are still in the “Oh yeah, we’d like to release something this year” stage (looking at you, Queens of the Stone Age). January, true to form, is lacking in major releases, save maybe The Decemberists’ “The King Is Dead” due on the 18th. February has a few interesting releases, like Dr. Dre, PJ Harvey, Bright Eyes, and…Patrick Stump? The Fall Out Boy singer? Well that should be interesting. Also in February is Beady Eye’s first album; aka: Oasis without Noel Gallagher, who is responsible for the bulk of the band’s best work.
March seems to be pop-punk month with Avril, Sum 41, Yellowcard, and Panic! At the Disco continuing their campaign of trying to make pop punk not awkward when your members are in their 30s. Then it gets kind of dead until May 23, when Lady Gaga releases Born This Way, an album that’s already getting hype, and that I’ll probably be sick of by the time it’s finally released. But I’d even place money it being this year’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy for “Biggest Hype and Longest Talked About Album”. Outside of that, there aren’t many set in stone releases for 2011. Well, releases of note so far. Pitchfork has a hefty list of releases by bands you’ve never heard of located here for the winter months.
I’m curious to see how each scene does this year. Indie, which is getting more and more decentralized by the year, will benefit best from increases in social networking and digital media; bands can get word/music out faster, easier, and to a broader audience now than they could before. Modern indie’s fascination with pretty sounding music will probably continue steadily (see: Deerhunter, Best Coast, Beach House, The National), and is nothing new; indie pop has been in since the 1980s. Mainstream pop’s current hard-on for club pop and mimicking whatever Lady Gaga does next will continue on steadily, but I’m genuinely interested in seeing what’ll happen once Born This Way is given time to digest.
Overall, 2011 should be an interesting year. Just less Ke$ha this time, please.