For about two decades, the music industry has continuously gambled against its odds. Artists and music companies run through uncertainties, victories, and losses always trying to look for what the future will bring us and trying to adapt to an industry that seems will never have a “business standard” again. The digital revolution did break the industry but opened Pandora’s box to countless new ways to live off from music. So, in our attempt to predict a medium-term future, here is a list of 5 trends that will reshape our ever-changing industry:
1. Non-music related brands will sign record deals
To start our trends list. Big, world-renowned brands that are currently investing millions in artist sponsorships and events might decide to take the issue on their own hands, and sign artists to exclusive record/sponsor/ambassador deals under their watch (and wallet). With the accelerated increase of media, content, and online services companies, almost all (if not all) of the Labels’ services can get to be covered and outsourced by any entity with enough buying power.
There are plenty of brands that have rubbed shoulders with the music industry throughout history: Coca-Cola, Pepsi, RedBull, Adidas, and many more. (This can cause a better payout from Labels to artists)
2. Hits will last longer on the charts
Introducing our first specimens: “Old Town Road,” and “Despacito.”
These two take the first and second places (respectively) as the longest-leading Billboard Hot 100 No.1 songs.
With the internet, songs now spread faster throughout the world. Thanks to the social media “boom,” songs are now perpetually accessible through any digital device that can stream music or video. With the internet and social media, streaming platforms like Spotify and YouTube efficiently market these songs to millions of listeners and subscribers through playlists and promotional campaigns.
Following these trends, legacy music catalogs also should be enormously benefited since the old songs of yesteryears will still live through time thanks to our limitless accessibility to all recorded music.
3. Live music experiences will keep growing
While this is not a secret that live show production is stunning these days, we should not wait for it to stop growing at any time. Ideas for an immersive and unique experience will only get bigger and bolder as time goes by. Technology for on and off-stage special effects exclusively reserved for the most significant concerts will become widely adopted. Also, stages will be adapted to satisfy “vertical” video and photography for better social media content sharing.
As concerts and festivals grow their production, so will ticket prices: fans will not only pay for the live music but the whole multi-sensory experience, and the social-media appeal that the concert/tour can deliver.
4. Apps will play a bigger role, and local music will grow
As discussed before, it is now easier for songs and artists to go global overnight, and it will continue to happen at a higher rate thanks to social apps. Social media apps, like Tik-Tok, Instagram, etc., are now music diffusion, and discovery platforms: Lil Nas X, released the first versions of “Old Town Road” through Tik-Tok. Also, as “Despacito,” and 2012 megahit “Gangnam Style,” showed us, language is not a barrier these days and hits can come in any shape or form: styles like Reggaeton are leading a world-wide Spanish-language takeover.
Local and independent scenes will rise from the shadows cast by the major labels! Almost all the media channels and technological infrastructure will be available to grow these smaller-sized music scenes exponentially. Thanks to the presence of these artists on the same platforms as superstars, exposure, and contact with fans will be more suitable than ever creating stronger bonds and stronger followings.
5. Songs will become (even) shorter
The shortening of songs’ length is one of those trends mainly driven by streaming. A shorter song will make people repeat it more often, generating more spins, translating those to bigger numbers, settling in larger payouts. Also, experts talk about the shortening of attention spans caused by mobile phones and platforms like Instagram, affecting music consumption and the amount of time a song has to “hook on” the listener – causing significant changes in song structure throughout music genres.
On a personal note – As songs become shorter and shorter, I would say that these hit songs are becoming “jingles” used to advertise the stars’ new fashion lines or their new liquor brand. It is not so much about the music.