It’s time for some predictions for the new year. Here’s what I see happening in 2012.
The good part is that we’ll see just how accurate I am on some of them by the end of January after the CES and NAMM shows.
For a few others, we’ll have to wait awhile.
Here we go.
1. Tablets take off for music production. For such a relatively new class of products, tablets like the iPad have quickly become a must-have device.
While we’ve had some great music software available for it in 2011 (Garageband is insanely good for only $5), 2012 brings us the serious I/O and accessories needed to take advantage of it’s portability.
2. Plugins hit the wall. When DAWs and plugins were fairly new, pro engineers complained that they didn’t sound like or as good as their hardware counterparts. I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but it seemed like someone flipped a switch and the pro world not only accepted, but suddenly loved the latest batch of plugins with no reservations.
Yes, plugins sound great these days but that’s the problem. Where do you go from here? When all the great analog hardware is successfully digitally duplicated by multiple companies (and even surpassed in some cases), it’s harder and harder to come up with something new.
Add to that the fact that the market is saturated, and you’ll see some software companies falling on hard times in 2012.
3. Pro Tools weathers the storm. Computers are really fast these days and Pro Tools can now operate natively and talk to hardware other than Avid’s, which is why a chorus of “Why do we need Pro Tools anymore?’ began to rise from DAW users everywhere in 2011. I have to admit that my new i7 iMac runs circles around my old HD1 rig for way less money.
So while it may seem like this is the time when the Pro Tools hold on the audio industry is finally broken, let’s not get too hasty. It’s still the standard of the music and post business, and the pros (especially the big facilities) can’t afford to make any changes now even if they wanted to (and they don’t). If the pros use Pro Tools, than those aspiring to be pros must use it as well.
We very well may see a new contender to the throne in 2012, but don’t expect any big industry changes.