Music is a big part of popular culture, and is driven by the economy, media, such as movies and television, and current events. Music also trends with the time and technology required to make it. For example, 50’s rock and roll was swayed by the electric guitar, just as much as the 80’s were dominated by electronically synthesized sounds and sampling. Here are ten music trends to watch for in 2013.

1      More Music Online

Stores in the US like Best Buy have shrunk their physical inventory when it comes to CD’s and physical media purchases, while stores like HMV in the UK are going out of business. In fact, digital music purchases rose 8% in the last few years, for a total of 5.2 billion dollars in revenue, according to the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry).

2      More Mixing

Technology drives music, mixing new sounds with old. Electronic mixing via genres like dubstep and trance will become more popular, and auto-tune will figure in heavily when it comes to laying vocal tracks. Audio Engineering Schools will be enrolling more students as melodies and vocals go high tech.

3      More Viral Videos

Given the huge success of Gangnam Style, be prepared for a wave of knock offs and more music from Korea, China, and Japan as these countries take the world music stage. Hopefully, no more parodies of “Call me Maybe” will surface.

4      More Music Based Reality TV

American Idol and X-Factor are just the start of music based reality TV. More broadcasters are likely to pick up the genre as music hungry viewers need more to Tweet about and publish to Facebook.

5      Crazier Fashions

In an effort to get noticed (because sometimes bad behavior is not enough) musical acts will tend to dress crazier, riding on the popularity of musical celebrities like Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga. Just remember, Liberace started it all.

6      Social Media

Social Media will continue to be a driving force in a group’s popularity, completely by-passing the normal chain of discovery that starts with garage bands and ends in recording studios. People can pass information along much faster than any other time in history and bands are starting to recognize the impact (good or bad) social media can have on their music careers.

7      Cloud based Music

Purchasing music through iTunes is immensely popular, but becoming more popular is streaming cloud based services, like Pandora, Amazon, and Spotify. All you need is an internet connection and a library of music and you are set for hours of listening entertainment.

8      Infusion

Music follows both popularity and money, sometimes all at once. For this reason there are times when music genres fuse together to take advantage of the market and appeal to the largest possible audience. Look for hip hop, dance, and electronica to fuse together to create some interesting lyrics and sounds.

9      Location

New York City and Los Angeles produce huge amounts of music, simply because they have been home to the music industry for so long. However, with the music industry becoming less centralized due to the digital music age, look to other cities to generate a fair amount of music. Atlanta, for example, is now one of the leaders in music generation.

10   Singles, Not Albums

Music buyers want choices, and while some music is still sold by the album, selling singles will continue to rise. While a single will not fill a concert hall, it can generate millions of dollars in music sales, and pull people into the limelight. Say what you want about Rebecca Black, but her single made her a household name – for better or for worse.

The common theme in all these musical trends comes down to technology and music is more dependent on storage space, e-delivery, and virtual promotion than in-person appearance.  Those who attend audio engineering schools and can help fill this new delivery and creation channel will ride musical trends into 2013 and beyond.