Making our way through the end of the 2010s, we thought appropriate to take a moment and look back at the moments and trends of the decade that created the current estate of the music business and the creation of Stereotheque Inc. In human history, significant innovations and shifts in people’s interaction with culture, technology, and creativity end up re-shaping the status quo and creating new challenges. Thankfully for us, out of those challenges, some people work tirelessly to overcome and help creatives keep advancing their crafts and talents into professional opportunities and careers.
A lot of things can happen in ten years. Thanks to the rapid and massive expansion of mobile devices and wireless networks throughout the world, even more moments, facts, records, and trends can be recorded and quantified! And, although we cannot go over all the moments of the decade, we have narrowed the most important ones into the four main trends of the 2010s.
Streaming is King
After a rough first half of the decade, streaming platforms are finally at the center of the industry. Through various updates and improvements, platforms like Spotify and Netflix have brought in millions of users back from “free-downloading” to pay for online and digital media. Streaming’s success also spread out the subscription-based business model to the consumer goods sector for companies in clothing, and electronics industries.
“Streaming has helped the music industry recover—to half its peak size”Quartz Magazine, 2019
Here To Stay
Right at the beginning of the decade, the Music industry accumulated less revenue than in 1990, making it the lowest number in sales for twenty years. However, record labels had been fighting against illegal downloading for a decade with no luck whatsoever – in reality, music sales were already declining since the year 2000.
Apple launched iTunes in 2003, changing the way consumers interacted with digital downloads and song libraries. The game of digital downloads became stronger thanks to the “$0.99 a single” and the increasing popularity of the iPod. Those trends gave some initial relief in the industry, but consumers could still download the same product for free, and the recorded music sales were still dropping hard in the charts.
As we can see in the previous graph, Digital Downloads helped, but they were never to become the solution. On the contrary, it is easy to see the constant and exponential growth of Streaming. The subscription-based model has permeated deep into consumers’ practices. Offering $10/month subscriptions for unlimited music, recommendations, algorithms, insights, and a more entertaining approach to music consumption has been the driver of the recorded music sales for the last 10 years. In 2010, paid subscriptions represented just 3% of total revenues, while last year, paid subscriptions (not counting on-demand, free, and other ad-supported streaming services) represented 47.3% – ($4.7 billion out of $9.8 total revenue).
Here is another look at the data. The comparison between 2014 and 2018 U.S Music Industry Revenues
Streaming has been so strong in its growth, and physical sales of CDs have dropped so massively that it is now hard to find CD players on day-to-day scenarios. New laptops do not have CD unit, just like new speakers and home theater consoles. Even the Automotive industry is dropping the CD player off the new cars and replacing it with bigger screens and mobile network connectivities for music streaming and digital radio.
Some of the highlights of the decade for these trends:
- The Beatles discography was released on iTunes digital format in 2010. Streaming came in 2015.
- Taylor Swift vs. Spotify for the release of her succesful 1989 album. After the fall in negotiations, she removed her music off the platform in 2015.
- The same year, Taylor Swift threatens to withhold the 1989 album from Apple Music after Apple’s announcement of not paying artists during the user’s three-month free trial offer.
- The Subscription-based business model made famous by Spotify and Netflix streaming services expanded to other industries: Stitch Fix, Dollar Shave Club.
- In 2017 the Recording Academy established that the Grammy’s will allow streaming-only albums into eligibility for its nomination categories
- 2018, Spotify goes public at a $26.5 Billion valuation, fulfilling the early promise to its initial investors (also major labels).
As streaming numbers climb through the years, nostalgia for physical music ownership and “quality-audio,” for some, has also created new trends for Vinyl and Turntables! Even a recently published article from Rolling Stone magazine is titled “Vinyl Is Poised to Outsell CDs For the First Time Since 1986“!
Music Festivals and Live Entertainment
According to Grand View Research, Inc., the total online event ticketing market was valued at $46.6 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $68 billion by 2025.”Forbes Magazine, 2019
Live Entertainment stood stronger than ever. The need for multiple income streams in the industry has had a profound impact on the production and demand for live music. The band U2, with its “360 Degrees Tour,” became one of the architects of a new wave of over-the-top concert productions that have extended through different music genres, tours, and Festivals. Music Festivals in Latin America had a massive growth bringing in the most prominent names in music to perform all year long in Colombia, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. The prices of tickets have skyrocketed, and there is an ongoing fight against Ticket Scalpers. However, most audiences keep their willingness to pay tickets for their favorite artists or Festivals.
Rise of EDM
EDM hit real hard in the live music scene at the beginning of the decade. Festivals like Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival, Electric Zoo, and Bonnaroo became instant hits among teenagers and young adults. The over-the-top stage productions with the best visual and sound equipment also set the mark on what audiences are expecting to see and live for the expensive tickets.
This decade saw the rise of the biggest EDM DJs of the movement. Names like David Guetta, Avicii, Skrillex, and Calvin Harris among many others became Trends not only in the EDM scene but in Pop music, where top artists needed to have either a collab or a Remix with these DJ’s.
The rise of the scene was intense and energetic, just as its music. Even though there have always been other kinds of music festivals, the massive attendance count and number of EDM festivals in a year have helped other scenes too. Music festival production companies have studied the phenomenon to plan and execute better productions for their own festivals.
The graph below is a Google Search popularity graph, it displays from 0 (least) to 100 (most), how popular the was search keyword over time. It is easy to see the peaks starting to appear since 2013, and consistently throughout the decade. Since most of the EDM festivals are produced in the Northern Hemisphere during the hot months, the peaks represent searches during summer, and the valleys during the cold and winter months.
The Ascent of the Female DJ
It is finally starting to happen! Women are starting to get those appearances and record numbers up in many male-dominated scenes and movements. Last year, Nina Kravis and Amelie lens performed more shows than the famous Armin van Buuren, followed by Charlotte de Witte.
Latin America Claims Its Place
Driving away from EDM, but still, in the music festival neighborhood, we now go to Latin America. Thanks to the substantial increase in the U.S Latin music revenues and hardworking professionals that have hustled to offer world-class shows for the Latin fans, there has been a dramatic change in the public perception about touring in South America. Local music festivals like Paramo Presenta’s Festival Estereo Picnic in Colombia, are now a stage for the biggest names in music. Also, companies like OCESA are promoting and producing the biggest concerts hand-in-hand with giants like Live Nation and AEG Presents.
Artists like The Killers, Snoop Dogg, Ed Sheeran, RHCP, Foo Fighters, U2, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, and others have stopped by in Colombia. Worldwide renowned music festivals like Lollapalooza have extended to over to Chile (since 2011), Brazil (since 2012), Argentina (since 2013).
Latin Artists Also Take Their Place in History
Latin MegaStars also claim the world-wide stage! Reggaeton and Latin Pop were definitely trends in the decade, and the artists representing the movement are living the golden years of fortune, fame, and world touring.
Since the first half of the decade, the biggest names in Reggaeton have booked U.S Tours through the main cities on both coasts. Stars like Maluma and Bad Bunny sold-out the Madison Square Garden. J Balvin, besides his traditional summer U.S Tour, also headlined Coachella and became Lollapalooza’s Chicago first Latino headliner. These stars are collaborating with Justin Bieber, Drake, Beyoncé, and now everybody wants a piece of Reggaeton’s pie.
Fighting Ticket Scalping
Through the decade, ticketing companies have had the need to fight against bots designed to buy the biggest amount of concert tickets to be resold on the secondary market. This problem has affected millions of fans worldwide, not only because of how difficult “bots” make the buying process but because the secondary market inflates prices to abusive levels.
According to Forbes Magazine, the secondary market makes $15.19 Billion a year from overpriced tickets that fans have to pay to enjoy their favorite artists. According to Distil Research Lab, bots’ activities represent 42.2% of the activity on primary ticketing platforms, and the trends indicate it can arrive at 100% in less than two years.
“The precipitous rise (in price) speaks to the industry’s aggressive pricing strategy to better meet demand and exclude the secondary market,”Pollstar
Sadly for music fans out there, it was recently revealed that Live Nation, the parent company of the primary ticketing platform, Ticketmaster, was directly selling tickets to the secondary market. A huge stab in the back for all artists that have had huge efforts trying to get their fans to pay a decent price for a ticket, and for all fans out there that sadly rely on Live Nation or Ticketmaster to attend a Venue or buy a Ticket.
Some of the highlights of the decade for this trend:
- According to a 2018 study by accounting giant Pricewaterhouse Coopers, “the live concert industry’s total revenue will reach $31 billion in four years. “
- In 2010, the Ticketmaster – Live Nation merger stuns the world – raises the question: is it a monopoly?
- U2 sets all-time highest-grossing tour record for its 360° Tour in 2011
- In 2015 Taylor Swift battles against ticket scalpers – wins but loses $150 million in the process
- 2017 and the biggest flop of all time, Fyre Festival
- Ed Sheeran’s 2018 Divide Tour sets the highest attendance for a music tour, highest-grossing music tour by a solo artist, and highest-grossing music tour.
- In 2019, a scandal of ticket scalping involving Live Nation and various artists sees the light. Ticketmaster would send thousands of tickets directly to resale websites to be sold at inflated prices.
- Live Nation acquires a big chunk of Latin America’s largest concert promoters OCESA.
YouTubers, Instagramers, & Music Apps
Lil Nas X first uploaded the tune to the short-form video app TikTok in February, sparking a meme…Billboard Magazine on Lil Nas X’s megahit “Old Town Road”, 2019
YouTube became the 2nd most visited website in the world, only after its parent company: Google. Thanks to Youtube’s accessibility, content creators, videographers, vloggers, and musicians have had the opportunity to upload original and cover pieces of content that can reach far and wide as the internet can stretch. Top players in the industry started to drive business decisions through online trends and data.
Even though it is not part of the trends per se, during the past decade, some of the most prominent artists of the 2000s endorsed today’s stars like Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd, and Five Seconds of Summer because of their early online success.
Thanks to video sharing, these artists became “viral” hits on the internet. After uploading videos on YouTube, fans would share these via platforms like Facebook, 9GAG, Vine, Instagram. The numbers and records of “views,” “shares,” and “followers” are now used as top indicators for companies and artists to close record deals, publishing deals, and management deals through the industry.
#1 On-Demand Music Streaming Platform
Youtube, the video platform also became the #1 on-demand music streaming platform in the world.
This piece of news shows two crucial factors of audience music consumption: first, that video is more powerful than ever, and second, that the majority of people around the world still do not want to pay for on-demand streaming.
Video is King
YouTube averages between 1.5 to 2 billion monthly logged-in viewers. This number is just ridiculous, even in decade-long trends’ records. Most of the content available is user-generated videos that range from music videos to DIY’s, vlogs, tutorials, and many more. The song Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, tops the list as the most-viewed video of all time, with over 6.6 billion views to date.
Music videos are a central part of artist-audience engagement and ancillary content creation for Instagram and other social platforms. Video campaigns, promos, behind the scenes, pre-releases, are all part of the promotional campaigns for almost any music release.
The rise in video demand has also positively affected the film industry. Hundreds of production companies have been born in the last decade, establishing names, music styles, and the kind of artists they work along with.
Success example: 36 Grados from Medellín, Colombia. After their success with J Balvin’s Ay Vamos, the company is now one of the top names for Urban Latin artists, setting trends and the top-professional standards.
Because of YouTube’s worldwide accessibility and quality content, audiences are now used to having the option of a “free” on-demand music streaming service. Almost every song that is on Spotify is on YouTube as a video or track, and users can stream unlimited times. Without a clear way to tackle this and create a shift towards paid subscriptions, a significant number of people in the audience will choose free YouTube over a paid Spotify subscription.
YouTubers and Instagramers
Video bloggers, or Vloggers, took the video channel to its next commercial level, making it a money machine. The YouTuber became an “actual” or “regular” job in today’s societal standards. The Youtuber is now a trendsetter, influencer, and public figure role in almost every arts and consumer goods industries.
Some of these vloggers are now celebrities that have used their video platforms, with millions of subscribed fans, as their starting grounds to explore into the music and other live entertainment industries. One of the most significant examples of the reach of online fame and industry crossover came with YouTube comedians Logan Paul and KSI, who organized back to back boxing matches.
According to Forbes.com, after the November rematch, each of the YouTubers took home $900,000.
Music and Apps
Music deeply penetrated the mobile Apps world, and Instagram is now following YouTube’s steps. Other apps, like Musical.ly, opened the talks about copyright for songs used in user-generated content, and also paved the way for Lil Nas X to create and release the longest-running No. 1 in history.
Because of the success and outstanding engagement that Instagramers have had with audiences around the globe, music artists, and all kinds of performers, are expected to engage fans in the same way.
The New Creative
The digital tools at our disposal and the successes of social media have helped the CREATIVE to slowly retake its deserved position in the professional realm of human society. The countless numbers of software and online tools developed each day, in addition to price drops in technology, have exploited the creative’s abilities to build a product and sell it.
Online media channels have opened new and suitable spaces for creatives to display works, create companies, and offer services. Creativity is now boundless, and accessibility is giving artists a chance to invest in any form of art.
YouTubers and Instagramers are now dreamed jobs by many people as demand and consumers increase. The road seems “democratized” for creatives, but there are still challenges we have to face.
Stereotheque is betting not only creatives’ success but on real professional career sustainability. Taking advantage of the newly developed tools, Stereotheque is proving that your network is your net worth.
Join the platform created for the new Creative and exploit your career:
- Boundless creativity in the digital era
- Creatives crossing over from music to visual arts, to film, to modeling, to fashion, and everything in between
- Technology and creative careers consolidating a common goal
- More opportunities and more threats to be tackled with online tools and resources
- The bet on sustainable professional creative careers in the 21st Century
To close this report, we invite you to also take a look forward into the 2020s and what we can expect in our near future.
It is always good to be one step ahead, so join us TODAY on Stereotheque! Subscribe to The Hub to keep yourself updated with the best from the Music and Entertainment industries, and follow The CREATR Podcast to listen to the stories and teachings of top-industry professionals like Warner Music’s CIO, Scott Cohen, the incredible multi-creative and DJ, Jyoty, and many more!