The Future of What? Looking Ahead in Music : Monitor Mix Here is the final installment of our unscientific, should-not-be-used-for-news-and-reporting-purposes survey results. As you probably know by now, the following answers were culled from a variety of people in the arts, music and entertainments c...
NPR logo The Future of What? Looking Ahead in Music

The Future of What? Looking Ahead in Music

Here is the final installment of our unscientific, should-not-be-used-for-news-and-reporting-purposes survey results. As you probably know by now, the following answers were culled from a variety of people in the arts, music and entertainments communities.

The last question we asked them was:

How do you think we'll listen to music ten years from now?

Our respondents' answers ranged from silly to philosophical to downright Sci-Fi!
We hope you enjoy reading them. And thanks so much to everyone who took the time to participate.

Douglas Wolk, writer:
I have absolutely no idea, and I can't wait to find out.

Mirah, musician:
My guess is that we'll be listening from shells pressed to our ears and it's gonna sound so nice.

Jon Cohen, co-Founder FADER Media/Cornerstone:
I think music will continue to become more global. Radio stations, editorial properties will become more global brands and expose people to what is going on in that given city. As a result, sonically artists will draw more and more from diverse influences. Bands will continue to interact so much more with their fans through technology. But the bottom line is it will still come down to being able to write great songs and play them live.

Lucy Robinson, publicist, Jajaguwar/Secretly Canadian/Dead Oceans:
Probably not on CD.

Isaac Bess, Business Development, IODA Alliance:

Westin Glass, musician, The Thermals:
Via immersive, interactive, pseudolive audio-visual-haptic holographic image-cube technology, which is projected from your 18th-generation iPod and fills your living room with wild psychedelic colors. Or just the same old vinyl records!

James Canty,, musician, French Toast, Make Up, Nation of Ulysses:
Unfortunately, I think the Guitar Hero model will continue to take over, with "musical tourists" controlling how labels market their artists. Tours and records will be trivialized and more reality shows will be built on the novelty of putting your heart and soul into artistic collaboration. Having said that, some really great aspects can come with reaching out to a nonexclusive audience. The Internet makes it so that the next kid to be inspired by the next Punk band, could be from the furthest reaches of wherever-the-f—-!! And who knows, maybe he/she will be the next Prince!

Hutch Harris, musician, The Thermals:
I think we will be smelling music in the future, and a lot of it will not smell very good.

Chris Lyons, musician, The Carrots:
iPod earrings.

Alyson West, band manager:

Lindsey Parker, Editor, Yahoo! Music:
Probably on chips embedded in our brains.

Andrew Noz, writer:
On tiny speakers and ear buds. Songs will be shorter, more repetitive, less expensive, more trebley, less bassy.

Lance Bangs, director, filmmaker:
I'm writing an iPhone app of 87 new Joy Division recordings, based on programming I've done for vocal ranges and phrasing cadences broken down into BSD based POSIX API. I'm in beta for 39 Velvet Underground circa 1968 recordings with Ike Quebec on tenor.

David Douglas, NPR Music's "A Blog Surpreme:"
One thing is for sure: in ten years we will still be listening to music live, played by humans in one way or another. I believe that is now and will always be the best.

Greg Selkoe, CEO of Karmaloop & Karmaloop TV:
Music will continue to be more creative and more diverse. Similarly to how fashion, streetwear specifically, has become a fusion of eclectic tastes from various sub-cultures - new genres of music will emerge as so many boundaries continue to be smashed. I'm excited to hear what the future holds!

Al Shipley, writer:
I think — I hope — we'll still have speakers and headphones pushing around the air inside our ears, and that those of us who care about having a personal library of music we care about will still have those. I think that the music we listen to ten years from now will contain pretty much all the same sounds and instruments that are already available now, but that by then the new odd combinations of them will be made for the sake of sound and creative composition, not just for the cheap thrill of the "mash up" culture that's dominated the past decade.

David Scheid, tour manager:
I think it will definitely be much more about individual songs than records. Things like Pandora and satellite radio and iTunes downloads will get more and more prevalent. None of these things are really based around albums. I think that genres will be blurred more and I think people will be less afraid to say they love that Smashmouth song.

Jean Smith, novelist; singer, Mecca Normal:
Ten years from now everyone between the ages of seventeen and seventy will have written and recorded an album of bonafide hits. The origin of the word "hits" will have faded of course. Hits will refer only to an online tally of clicks per song. Everyone will listen to everyone's songs and the word "star" will be tucked safely back into the night sky where it belongs. Making songs will be like making dinner. Tedious for some — for others, an opportunity to impress. A completely ordinary behavior.

Ten years from now, we will spend more time listening to our own music than songs written by others, but when we do listen, it will be a different understanding of construction and intention.

Songs will regularly be used by fathers who find speaking difficult, but need to apologize to their children for being jerks. The song will be listened to by the children and the father's strengths and limitations will be further understood. Mothers will use songs to impart knowledge of love and sex to their daughters, thus removing the necessity of those cringe-worthy talks. Popular song encourages both male and female histrionics and should be used like mops and scrub brushes, for tasks around the house — used on those hard to get out words.

David Lester,graphic artist; guitarist, Mecca Normal:Listening to music ten years from now will ideally reflect the result of our current longing for meaning and purpose in creative expression, regardless of which technology we're using. I anticipate that we will be more inspired and motivated by the sounds of art being made.

Tim Quirk, VP of Music Programming, Rhapsody:
Almost all of us will have devices that give us instant access to anything we want to hear. It will sound even tinnier.

Michele Flannery, Music Manager, You Tube:
I hope it keeps dipping into the past — mixing up elements from all eras to create something unique. Big band riot grrl dub-step anyone?

Jimi Biron, Executive Director of Booking, Crystal Ballroom:
Same as always, over the stereo, live, or with headphones. I imagine we will catalogue our music on our computers, I can't imagine any reason for CDs or CD players. I think everyone's ipods will have wireless access to the host computer or the computer service you subscribe to allowing more music with less need for storage on the actual device.

Carly Starr, Sub Pop Records:
I'm scared that we're going to turn into one of those countries that only listens to music on our phones. I'm gonna try and hold out as long as I can.

Megan Holmes, photographer:
Hopefully from space.

Chris Sutton, musician, The Gossip:
Humans will master vibrations and be able to transmit music straight into their brainstems without the use of speakers.

Sam Coomes, musician, Quasi:
In caves.

Slim Moon, Shotclock Management; founder, Kill Rockstars:
With our ears!

Andrew Kesin, co-owner, Ecstatic Peace Records:
With our ears.