Every decade represents a change in the music industry, from how we can listen to music to the evolving genre of sounds. Music industry trends as boomboxes, cassette tapes, and the New Wave and pop hits mark the’ 80’s era, while CDs and Apple iTunes playing boy and female band phenomenons and catchy one-hit wonders were a part of the pattern of the 90s and into the early 2000s.
As we set to enter 2021, there is one thing this year has taught us about the future of music in the digital age: nothing is actually for certain. With the Covid 19 pandemic putting a halt on music life and concert tours, musical artists have had to get creative in the way they carry on and reach the fans theirs and put out new music. If anything, the slowdown of the music business in 2020 may have given us a peek into several of the trends taking us into the future, from social media live streams and genre crossovers to the launch of the contemporary record player well as the rise of the indie artist.
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Social Media Livestreams
For a long time, fans have waited for their favorite artists to drop the latest album of theirs and wait for the announcement of a multi-city tour. However, with large crowd venues still up in the air as a possibility going into 2021, social media’s popularity, like platforms with video streaming and sharing capabilities, has provided the opportunity for musicians and the fans of theirs to connect in real-time through live streams.
Whether the streaming media includes short, raw performances hinting at future music or perhaps full-fledged online concert events, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and other streaming, social media channels allow millions of folks to come together digitally. Advances in social media can greatly lend to how technology has changed music as fans today look to connect with musicians on a personal level and a musical one through several platforms. The capability of artists who can do both plays a tremendous part in success.
Rise of the Indie Artist As a strategic method to use the social media wave, independent artists are actually finding innovative ways to get before larger audiences through different channels. In the age of “going viral,” all it takes is actually one hit song, signature dance move, and any other popular sweeps across trending topics to get folks interested. When interested, indie artists can continue sharing music via a YouTube channel, TikTok entertainment, and creative ways to grow the fanbase. It is a two-part endeavor, getting folks to watch and enticing individuals to stay.
In certain ways, it is more challenging for indie musicians due to the music business’s increasingly competitive landscape. Nevertheless, in others, they have the advantageous asset of giving folks what they really want from their listening experiences today: curated playlists, interesting sounds, fresh and underground finds of musicians not yet popular. It feels like a treasure stumbling upon a potential next great star, which makes listeners today feel like part of the discovery process, which in the own way of its, has also shaped the global music market.
Visual Albums and Music Documentaries Music industry trends that capture an intimate look at the music-making journey with personal insight and background info from the artist themselves will continue to be a trendy avenue into 2021 as live music and concerts continue to be limited perhaps canceled.
Beyonce’s Lemonade album, which debuted in 2016, is among the most recent and notable albums to be accompanied by a visual film for viewers to see the lyrics being played out on screen. It introduces another avenue of storytelling to make a much better relationship with fans, and it captures audiences already on music that is popular streaming services.
Musical artists also document the behind-the-scenes looks of their albums to put much more context to their production, process, and inspiration. Shawn Mendes, Harry Styles, Ariana Grande, and lady Gaga are just a number of the many that have released these projects on Netflix, YouTube, and other video streaming services.
Algorithm-Based Music Recommendations
Nowadays, we can have digital music on demand through all of the electronic devices of ours. For every music app, audio streaming service, and online search we engage with, data is actually collected, and we are recommended new options based on our listening history. Moreover, for the hundred million devices with Amazon Alexa already built in (as of 2019), you can instruct the artificial intelligence device to play your playlist, album, or a song according to the mood of yours, time of day, or perhaps determined by some other artists you have listened to before.
The same type of algorithmic formula plays out on popular audio streaming services like Pandora and Spotify. It is a way to constantly feed you fresh content as these sources “predict” what you will be interested in. The aim is usually to increase how long you stream music, the range of artists you are interested in, and your reliance on these platforms to enable you to find what you are looking for in the future.
Alternative Revenue Streams for Musicians With live concerts currently on the back burner and streaming subscription services on the upswing, paying for actual albums has become less of the regular method to produce revenue streams for musicians and music labels. Instead, it takes creative thinking outside of the box and listening to fans’ feedback to actually hit the type of merchandise and content they would like to receive.
For instance, Taylor Swift switched gears in 2020 and debuted a produced-in-the-pandemic album that strayed from her usual pop-country sound. Since the first release of Folklore, she has already introduced a special album with bonus tracks, brand merchandise to accompany the album’s themes, and most recently, an intimate concert film on Disney+ that revisited the making of the album.
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It shows music industry trends in 2021 have to be equally as adaptable and in tune with their market, as this’s what fans have come to expect. With as much content folks consume every day, there is a difference between being a flash-in-the-pan for someone who’s temporarily trending on Twitter to parlaying growing popularity into something that is truly long-lasting.
Movie and TV Soundtrack Breakout Artists If you have ever been watching an original movie or even show on Netflix and wondered, “Who plays that song?” that is intentional. There is a specific team behind casting and curating playlists of mainstream and indie artists that fit best with these shows’ scenes and have a sound that’ll resonate with audiences.
Music that captures the attention or perhaps conjures up a particular feeling can resurrect old songs and make them mainstream again or perhaps push breakout artists front and center as a tipping point for their profession. Case in point: Lizzo’s popular “Truth Hurts” record was 2 years old before finding new life on the Hot hundred list following its placement on the Netflix movie Someone Great before becoming a regular rotation for Spotify audiences and radio airwaves.
Music Genre Crossover
Music collaborations have always been where artists can toe the line between genres, particularly with pop and country. Nevertheless, the door is actually open wider than ever for performers to pair up with other musicians or perhaps slowly dip into a genre they are not mainly known for. Music industry trends over the years are actually similar. People want familiarity with the sounds or perhaps artists they currently enjoy and crave the novelty of what is to come.
Lil Nas X showed how quickly folks could adapt to the music genre crossover with his 2019 hit “Old Town Road” when he managed to hit Billboard’s Hot Country chart while being touted as a hip hop/country song. From there, the recording artist managed to deliver multiple remixes and accumulate instant support from fans online. This’s just one instance of the diversity folks want from their music and the way they listen to it. Everybody is constantly searching for a way to be entertained and pleasantly surprised.
Because of the fluidity of music genre crossovers and audiences constantly searching for the next big thing, music streaming services as Spotify have come up with playlists less focused on genre and more attuned to cultural preferences and lifestyle and tendencies.
Spotify’s Pollen concept is actually a way to feature music from a mix of mainstream and underground musicians that share a similar aesthetic. This concept focuses on curating for the mood of the moment. Whether that is gathering sounds that spark creativity, soothing music that allows you to relax, or perhaps party playlists to get hyped up, setting the mood is actually the focus over choosing one particular genre.
The interest in genre-less playlists speaks to most folks that enjoy different music types but are actually drawn to artists with similarities in style, lyrics, and/or sound. Additionally, it paves a path for the undiscovered, independent artists and promotes diversity among lesser-seen genres and groups in the music market.
Return to Music that is Life After a definitive halt to live music events in 2020; fans will be itching to see their favorite musicians live, surrounded by the ambiance that only an in-person concert experience can offer. Exactly how live music events are going to change to introduce the opportunity again remains to be seen. Still, with multiple avenues available now, the music business does not have to stick with one particular method to tour. Instead, drive-in concert events, intimate at-home live streams, and other adaptations to the concert experience give performers ways to ease into the live music scene again.
As with the music genre crossover and the mood-setting aesthetic that folks crave, there will also be an increase in festival gatherings. Again, different artists will come together and provide a multi-faceted experience that will introduce fans to music in the same way genre-less playlists and algorithms aim to with technological innovation.
Fans drive music industry trends. With more folks having the first-hand platform to share their thoughts, dislikes, and preferences directly with execs and artists at major record labels, it makes gathering data easier to make smart decisions that benefit all. But, as with any music trends that’ve been well known in the past, it requires leading the pack in what is popular in the second and then learning how to capitalize on it for the extended.