The music industry has changed at a crazy speed throughout the last couple of decades. The rise of the Internet has shaped music in ways we never thought possible, giving the power back to artists and consumers.
With this shift, however, record labels experienced a severe crisis which had an impact on musicians too. Emerging artists, in particular, are often confused and disoriented, unable to stand out in a sea of infinite musical offers.
Despite the controversies and the difficulties, eleven years after the launch of Swedish streaming giant Spotify, one of the main game-changers in the industry, some new foundations seem to have finally settled. We are now able to predict in which direction the music industry is going with some level of accuracy.
What should we expect in 2020? How are trends evolving for artists and consumers? Where and how will we be able to sell or buy music?
Let’s take a look at 8 trends likely to shape the Music Industry in 2020.
1. Record labels vs. independent artists
Throughout the last ten years, more and more artists decided to go independent and skip the step previously considered career-defining: getting a record deal.
If only about ten years ago you asked an emerging artist what his or her goal was, they would probably answer: “Getting signed to a major label.” If you ask the same question today, the answer is likely to have drastically changed.
With streaming platforms, social media, video streaming services available at one’s fingertips, musicians can now produce and promote their work without needing record labels.
This trend is likely to increase in 2020, due to the newer marketing tools growing daily on the net. With Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and much more free media available online, artists can finally skip the middle man and work in total independence.
Record labels, however, tried to fix their loss of power coming up with more attractive contracts for fresh new talents. For example, according to The Journal Of Music, labels are now offering up to 50% cuts on digital revenues and up to 75% cuts on publishing income.
Will this solution be enough to save record labels?
2. Streaming is king
People, especially young people, don’t buy music anymore. They stream it.
With YouTube still being the major player in the game, streaming services are likely to increase their results in 2020.
The so-called “over the top” media services, which offer almost limitless content on-demand, have the biggest slice of the cake, not only in the music industry but also in TV and cinema. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and other OTT media services, for example, have more than 182 million users in the United States only! Spotify has now 108 million premium subscribers, plus plenty more free users.
Radio and TV are not as attractive when you can jump to the song or the movie you like without ads or interruptions. They are even less attractive when you can have your on-demand content for a tiny amount of money or even for free.
That’s why streaming will still be big in 2020.
3. Augmented and Virtual reality
The new gaming technologies will probably be employed by musical artists too in 2020.
There are plenty of opportunities available in this field.
From AR or VR music videos to dead rockstars’ concerts, the sky is the limit.
While these technologies have been around for a while, they are likely to achieve a mainstream level in the upcoming year, becoming an attractive tool for anyone involved in the music industry.
4. Social Media Algorithms
Social media, and Facebook, in particular, will keep modifying their algorithms, benefiting whoever pays to have their content prominent on the platform.
This means that emerging musicians will need to invest more and more money on sponsored posts to reach a wider audience. On the other hand, regular users will need to be aware of how advertisements on social media work, to take conscious choices.
It’s safe to say that Social Media Platforms are going nowhere anytime soon. Although, there has been a built-up advantage to one on the other, making multiple platforms more dominant in building Provider-Consumer relationships. Which brings us to the next trend…
5. TikTok is the New Instagram
Last year Instagram had a lot of hype among musicians. The photographic social media seemed to have replaced even the ever-popular Facebook.
Artists started publishing more and more content on Instagram, engaging with their audience there rather than on Facebook or Twitter.
In 2020, however, a new player will likely get on the top: TikTok.
This video platform, based on short and fun content, is already used by very young people. The need for attracting a younger fanbase, therefore, makes this social media a useful marketing tool for any business.
A few musicians are now experimenting with its potentiality and they are likely to be followed by plenty more artists in the upcoming year.
6. The importance of video content
As we highlighted before, streaming is king, but video streaming is the emperor!
According to Finances Online, Global Video Streaming Revenue, which steadily increased from 2017 to 2019, will keep growing by about 1% in the next few years.
In 2020, people will keep accessing music on YouTube. Actually, they are likely to access music on the video platform even more than ever.
This means that video production will have the same importance as audio production and that musicians will need to stand out among the crowd with perfectly-crafted music videos.
7. Is the time right for the blockchain revolution?
A few years ago, British artist Imogen Heap announced the launch of Mycelia, a system in which the blockchain technology would have granted artists a fair recognition and pay for their work.
Since then, blockchains have been adopted by various companies handling royalties and copyrights.
In 2020, this technology is likely to be expanded, even more, causing another important revolution in the music industry.
8. The future of live concerts
Touring will still be the main source of income for musicians, festival organizers, and agencies. In a few years, we will probably be able to attend any concert in any part of the world from the comfort of our living room, through the use of Augmented or Virtual Reality.
Right now, however, big festivals and big concerts are still attended by large crowds, proving live music to be one of the most profitable sectors of the industry. The trend is definitely not going to change in 2020.
As always, the Music Industry will keep adapting to consumer needs. Many new technologies are yet to come and take over the present ones, bringing the digital era to a whole new level of prominence.
What do you think will change in the music industry in 2020? Do you agree with these points? Do you have more predictions on the future? Let me know in the comments!