EXPERIENCE HAS TAUGHT ME that guessing the future of anything is pretty much impossible; at best you might get it half right. If you’d asked me in 2005 where dance music would be in ten years’ time, I’ve no idea what I’d have come back with, but there are so many things about the current scene I’d definitely never have seen coming.

In 2005 record sales were rapidly decreasing so the upturn in vinyl’s fortunes over the last few years and so many young DJs playing from it would not have been one of my predictions. Similarly the new wave of producers like Disclosure coming along making fairly authentic ’90s influenced house grooves and selling millions of units. Many of the changes in the way music is made and sounds have been technology-driven, be it the electric guitar, the first wave of synths or the sampler – so who knows what’s going to be around in 2025? I hope it’s not more stuff that makes plagiarizing other music even easier and more appealing.

I often hear people complaining there’s too much music released these days (I guess 8,000-10,000 per week on Beatport is quite a lot) but there’s certainly not loads more memorable vocal records. Maybe because writing a decent song is still pretty hard, despite all the new tech we’ve been given?

Personally as a music consumer CD is still my format of choice for a new album, but as a label I’ve seen CD sales fall the way vinyl did. Will there a bit of a resurgence in five or ten years? The general consensus seems to be will “owning” a copy of a piece of music become a thing of the past and we’ll all be streaming music. Lets hope if that is the case artists will be making more money out of it than they currently are and some of the massive piracy issues we’ve seen over the last ten years will have been at least partly eradicated. Ever since a piece of music has been reducible to a digital file, it has been a tough time for the music business.

As someone who’s been around the block a couple of times the only thing we can do is embrace at least some of the changes and constantly tweak our business model to make it work in the current state of play. I guess in twenty years’ time when 3D printers are in every home then many of the manufacturing industries not so effected by the last decade of online piracy will all have to deal with copyright theft in a big way. Hopefully music will be through it all by then and thriving.

Joey Negro, Z Records


What The Future Looks Like: 12 predictions by 12 industry insiders on the future of dance music

Terry Hunter: “In three years we will have a drastic shift in music as we know it.”
John-Christian Urich: “It seems like it could be corny, but it’s not. It works.”
Joe Shanahan: “It will be as it always has been for decades: about community.”
Mark Farina: “Good music will still be good music and bad will still be bad.”
Roy Davis, Jr.: “Streaming avenues will become a major source of income for most artists, if done correctly.”
Mark de Clive-Lowe: “We can’t be more than a few years away… from the average consumer not owning any music at all.”
Rees Urban: “Things will come full circle back to the underground mentality sooner than later…”