Music industry trends to look out for in 2022

We’re about to enter 2022 and that means, a new year of opportunities for the music sector to show its strength after two years of embracing new challenges, digital transformation, and exploring new ways to coexist with the pandemic.

Music industry trends for 2022

An overview of the music industry in 2021

During 2021 we’ve seen the comeback of vinyl in places like the U.K., the modest recovery of the concert industry with the return of some in-person live shows and the introduction of virtual gigs, the explosion of music streaming in some strategic countries in LATAM like Brazil or Mexico, or the boom of virtual music business events like IMX China or WAC 2021.

There’s been a rebound of key recorded music markets such as Spain, which grew by 22% in the first semester of 2021, making nearly €170 million in revenues, or the U.S., which experienced a 27% year-on-year growth during H1, reaching $7.1 billion.

U.S. Music Industry mid-year revenues 2021

Source: RIAA

We’ve also witnessed the consolidation of music distribution through digital channels.

Plenty of big and independent labels, distributors, and aggregators have been switching to the digital world during 2021 to deliver and promote their artists’ catalogs on streaming services to reach audiences from all over the world.

In SonoSuite, we’ve also expanded our resources to help independent music businesses to thrive.

In addition to our newly renovated brand identity and website, and the publication of new materials, including eBooks featuring marketing tricks for music businesses, we’ve also added some of the biggest names in the music industry to our list of integrated DSPs during the past 12 months.

We’re now connected to over 220 digital stores and music channels worldwide, including newly integrated ones like Twitch, JOOX, and Juno Download.

That means that your artists’ music can be available in strategic countries like China, the U.S., South Korea, Australia, France, Brazil, or India. But what’s next?

The trends that will shape the music industry in 2022

What’s in store for the music industry for the year ahead? The new year looks very promising, musically speaking.

Check out our predictions for what we believe will be trendy within the global music business in 2022.

  • Digital music industry revenues keep climbing at a global scale: While 2021 has been a fantastic year for digital music consumption as more and more listeners subscribed to streaming services and downloaded music from online stores, we believe that this trend is going to accelerate in 2022. The growth of the global recorded music market will primarily be driven by streaming. It’s estimated that the digital music revenue from streaming in the U.S. alone will grow to $9.8 billion next year and reach $12.4 billion by 2025. This increase will be shown at a global scale as many other strategic regions like LATAM, Europe or Africa have seen streaming dominating their music industry’s revenue during the past 12 months, according to the last IFPI report.
Forecast of Digital Music revenue by segment in the United States from 2017 to 2025

Source: Statista

  • Digital music distribution and white-label distribution platforms take the lead: While physical formats like vinyl records have experienced a revival during the past 12 months, 2022 is going to be the year where music distribution through digital channels will consolidate. This one is going to be a great year for those independent labels that want to expand their catalog reach by using digital distribution. The demand for white-label SaaS platforms like SonoSuite could increase as more and more music companies are managing their own online distribution independently and use these types of services to do so. They can easily deliver their artists’ music simultaneously to the best DSPs, including Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, Pandora, or YouTube Music, and make it available to millions of streamers worldwide.
  • User-generated content featuring licensed music becomes even more popular: It’s undeniable that 2021 has been the year where users have been more creative online and have used live streaming platforms like TikTok, Instagram, or Twitch to provide high-quality content to audiences and very often by incorporating licensed music (available on these platforms’ libraries) in their streams. In 2022, this trend will continue as, for many consumers, user-generated content is becoming more trustworthy than brand-generated content. Next year, we’ll see more and more creators, including those from popular live game streaming apps like Twitch, using audio and artists showcasing their own music creations when streaming in order to promote their content, attract new followers, and engage with their fans online.
User-generated content statistics from 2021

Source: TINT

  • Short-form videos with music will continue leading the streaming game: In 2021, TikTok has become the most popular non-gaming app, competing with YouTube as the biggest video streaming service in countries like the U.S. and the U.K. The reason why it was the most downloaded and highest-grossing platform outside the gaming world during the first half of the year is simple: It offers a space for users to create their own short videos, and very often features copyrighted music as well. This format has gained relevance in 2021 and it’s very likely that it will continue to be the biggest trend next year. Users love to watch fun, creative and quick content that is easy to digest. YouTube joined this trend and launched in March its own short-format video app called YouTube Shorts to compete with services like Instagram Reels or TikTok. Every day more and more music businesses are also adding short-length videos to their strategies to promote their artists’ music as nowadays video marketing generates 48% more engagement than other content types. It’s estimated that online videos will make up over 82% of all user internet traffic by 2022, so it’d be a great opportunity for music professionals to use this format to connect with new audiences.
YouTube Shorts app

Source: YouTube

  • Social media and gaming platforms will remain as the first choice for Gen Z to discover music: While music streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music have been core in the past years to help music lovers to find new releases by their favorite artists and discover new music and emerging artists through curated playlists, it turns out that social media platforms offering streaming options like Instagram or TikTok are currently, and will continue being so in the future, the first music discovery resource for young consumers. Around 80% of TikTokers say they use the app to discover new music. A considerable 60% of Gen Z and Millennial listeners in the U.S. currently use Instagram to do so. Gaming platforms like Twitch or Facebook Gaming are playing a key role in that sense too and will continue doing so in 2022. Around 28% of music listeners aged 13 or overuse video games to discover new music. This is the main reason why Soundtrack by Twitch is gaining popularity amongst younger audiences. In 2022, social media and live game streaming platforms will probably still be the primary option for music discovery.

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