The biggest need the music industry has is more ways to expose students (young and old) to the joy of playing music. Whether it's a garage band, an orchestra, a mandolin group, or a Klezmer band, the joy of playing together is what motivates people to play.
Our success is dependent on how fully we embrace the digital lifestyle that commands so much of today's consumer spending. This new generation (millenials) manage to find the funds to buy what they think they really need. Right now, it's the latest iPhone or iPad, and next year it might be Google Glass or other body computing products.
The music markets are stagnant at best and many continue to shrink because music making now competes with the digital lifestyle. It's easier to check Facebook, read a Tweet or watch a YouTube video than it is to pick up an instrument and create.
When I was a kid, cellphone and PC sales were non-existent. Now cellphones, tablets, and laptops are allowing people to make music, videos, create new software, generate new sounds, and record. A lot of young people are using these tools to create music.
Traditional instruments are far from dead, however we've got to recognize this technology shift and embrace it or risk missing the opportunities. I would argue that there's as much creative energy today as there's ever been. A lot of the music and video you hear and see today is bad. But what's new? Growing up, all my friends owned an instrument, and 98% of them couldn't play. But we all wanted to have the experience. It's the same now.
Musical industry members who can become passionate experts in particular musical genres, and the instruments that produce that music, can define themselves and become very meaningful to that particular market.
Historically musicians were focused on becoming "star" performers. Today, we seem to be serving the "organic musician," the individual interested in the intrinsic joy of learning and playing music.
Current popular music in many genres is gravitating toward acoustic stringed instruments. There are many young female acoustic guitarists who are nurturing an uptick in female interest.