Reports and experts state that the Music Industry trends for the next decades show a panorama shaped by streaming and Artificial Intelligence.
The music industry has experienced a resurgence in the last years, and streaming has something to say about. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’ s (IFPI) Global Music Report 2019, global music sales reached $19.1 billion in the last year, 9.7% more than 2017. Paid subscriptions to platforms like Spotify or Apple Music are leading this rise but is not the only remarkable phenomena. The report also highlights that music is more global than ever. Ten years ago, it would have been impossible imagining a Spanish artist like Rosalía playing at Coachella or the rise of K-POP with BTS and Blackpink (new South Korean BackStreet Boys and Spice Girls?). It also goes through music making democratization, the advent of file sharing or the importance of Copyright frameworks.
We are living interesting times but… What about the future? Here a list of predictions (and not so distant realities) based on MIDiA forecasts.
1. Podcasts killed the radio star
Millennials and Centennials are no longer listening to the radio, and here is the rise of podcasts. Why would Spotify or Apple spend millions of dollars in podcasting? Because they know only 39% of 16-19-year olds listen to music radio, while 56% do so via YouTube (MIDiA). More: a study made by Musonomics assures that radio will be dead in 10 years. Carmakers have begun to marginalize this medium from their models and invest more in media screens with direct access to Spotify or Apple Music.
2. Software As A Service (SAAS)
Artists can create their own virtual label, labels can become music distributors. All this with a technology which is at the mercy of music. Here the example of SonoSuite, a white label digital music distribution service that provides software to distribute music.
3. Higher pressure in catalogues
One of the reasons why Boomplay is more famous than Spotify in Africa is because of its catalogue, focused in local and Indie artists of the continent. Investing in a valuable music archive will be a priority in order to make a difference. As MIDiA says, “with most catalogue streams coming from music made in this century, catalogue values are being turned upside down”, in a way that “in the streaming era, the Spice Girls are worth more than the Beatles”.
4. Higher fees (but adapted to inflation)
Streaming services need to find a way to close their fees to inflation, and this means users paying more for Premium services.
5. More than streaming
Software As A Service creating Labels As A Service (LAAS) is the tip of the iceberg of one of the most significative music industry trends: value chain disruption. This means, independent music labels creating their own streaming services or streaming services signing artists (Spotify).
Music is gaining importance in the content offered by tech majors like Amazon or Apple and it will need to fight for supremacy. See Apple launching Apple TV or, in video services, Disney creating its own Netflix, Disney +.
7. More global, more local
The worldwide rise of Latin Music—with artists like Bad Bunny, Luis Fonsi or Becky G- can only be explained with the rise of streaming services in Latam (dominated by Spotify). Western-English speaking artists are no longer the only ones breaking the charts, but also Indian, African or South Korean idols. This is why it will be more and more usual collaborations Blackpink ft. Dua Lipa style.
The future will see global fandom fragmented with much more regional diversity. The rise of indigenous rap scenes in Germany, France and the Netherlands illustrates that streaming enables local cultural movements to steal local mainstream success away from global artist brands.
8. Albums won’t be that important
Streaming-era artists don’t want to be confined to the album format anymore. They prefer releasing a trickle of songs from time to time in order to keep the interest of their public. We are attending to this reality with collaborations, singles or an increasing interest in astonishing live concerts (here another prediction: live experience is going to get madder), playlists or streaming radio. Of course, artists and record labels should have their eyes on video formats. Signs can’t be more obvious, huge companies like Universal or Apple have doubled down on videos. And music films can have an impact on song catalogues. As an example, we have Netflix investing in music documentaries or the great success of the Bohemian Rhapsody movie.
CD sales are still in decline but this format is still important for consolidated and established artists. The good news is that vinyls and cassettes are living another golden age. For instance, last year in the US, vinyl sales grew 12% from 8.6 to 9.7 million sales, while cassette sales grew by almost 19 % from 99,400 to 118,200 copies. If appealing to nostalgia works in cinema and TV series, why not music?
9. Post-album economics
Alongside with this Post-album creativity comes post-album economics. Quoting MIDiA: “Labels will have to accelerate their shift to post-album economics, figuring out how to drive margin with more fragmented revenue despite having to invest similar amounts of money into marketing and building artist profiles.
10. In search of a new format
Despite the streaming hype, little has changed in the last decade. In a time when changes, artists and hits happen at the speed of life, it won’t be a surprise the emergence of new formats or experiences. Virtual reality in shows or music videos may be one reality, or wearables, A.I, not to mention blockchain, one of the emerging music industry trends.